US lawmakers visit Taiwan after Pelosi trip angers China

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A delegation of American lawmakers arrived in Taiwan on Sunday, less than two weeks after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip angered China and raised fears of a military crisis in the Taiwan Strait.

Five members of Congress, led by Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), are expected to meet with meet President Tsai Ing-wen and other senior leaders to discuss US-Taiwan relations, regional security issues, trade and climate change, according to the American Institute in Taiwan.

The institute said in a statement that the lawmakers would be in Taiwan on Sunday and Monday as part of a larger trip to Asia.

The delegation will also meet with members of the private sector “to discuss shared interests including reducing tensions in the Taiwan Strait and expanding economic cooperation, including investments in semiconductors,” a spokesperson for Sen. Markey said in a statement.

Pelosi’s visit in early August led to heightened tensions in US-China relations. The Chinese also conducted military exercises off Taiwan, including firing missiles that touched down in surrounding waters. The government of Chinese President Xi Jinping also cut off talks with the United States on military issues and climate change, a decision that foreign policy experts feared could imperil progress at a global climate summit in November.

For Beijing, Pelosi’s high-level meetings in Taiwan were an affront. China claims the democratically governed island as its own territory. During her trip, the speaker offered assurances of American support, saying that one of the purposes of the trip was “to show the world the success of the people of Taiwan, the courage to change their own country, to become more democratic.”

As of Sunday afternoon, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs had not yet issued any reaction to the latest delegation visit.

On Sunday, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted a photo of the delegation meeting with the vice-minister of foreign affairs, Alexander Yui, and celebrated the lawmakers’ visit as a sign of friendly relations between Taipei and the US

“As China is continuing to escalate tensions in the region, the US Congress has again organized a heavyweight delegation to visit Taiwan, showing a friendship that is not afraid of China’s threats and intimidation, and highlighting the US’ strong support towards Taiwan,” the Taiwanese ministry said in a statement.

The congressional delegation visiting the island this week includes Democratic House members John Garamendi and Alan Lowenthal from California and Don Beyer from Virginia. It also includes Republican Rep. Aumua Amata Coleman Radevagen, a delegate from American Samoa, according to the spokesperson for Markey.

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