US congressional delegation starts Taiwan visit amid heightened cross-strait tensions

Tsai, who is due to leave office in May, said the visit represents “staunch US support for Taiwan’s democracy through concrete action” and “highlights the close partnership between Taiwan and the United States”.

Gallagher and four other members of the committee will spend three days in Taiwan as part of a visit to the wider Indo-Pacific region.

2 mainland Chinese fishermen return home after fatal Taiwanese coastguard chase

The group is expected to meet senior Taiwanese leaders, including president-elect William Lai Ching-te, and civil society representatives to discuss relations with the US, regional security and trade relations, according to the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto US embassy.

The self-governing island is a major flashpoint in US-China relations, with Beijing regarding it as a breakaway province that must be reunited with the mainland – by force if necessary.

The US, in common with most countries, does not recognise Taiwan as an independent state, but opposes any attempts to take the island by force and is committed to supplying it with arms.

Responding to the visit, Mao Ning, a spokeswoman for China’s foreign ministry, urged the US to “recognise the extreme complexity and sensitivity of the Taiwan issue” and “abide by the one-China principle”.

“China has always firmly opposed any form of official exchanges between the United States and the Taiwan authorities, and firmly opposed the United States’ interference in Taiwan affairs in any way and under any pretext,” she said,


Taiwan drives away mainland Chinese coastguard in series of tense exchanges

Taiwan drives away mainland Chinese coastguard in series of tense exchanges

The group’s visit comes as a proposed US financial aid package, which includes support for Taiwan along with Ukraine and Israel, has stalled in Congress, where it is at risk of being blocked in the House of Representatives.

It is the second visit by US lawmakers to Taiwan since its presidential elections in January and comes after cross-strait tensions heightened in the past few days.

Two Chinese fishermen died last week when their boat capsized while being pursued by the Taiwanese coastguard. Taipei accused the fisherman of having trespassed into waters near Quemoy, a group of Taiwanese-controlled islands also known as Kinmen.

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Chong Ja Ian, a political scientist who studies US-China relations at the National University of Singapore and a non-resident scholar at Carnegie China, said Gallagher’s remarks were in step with his previous rhetoric on Taiwan, and that “the substance of Taiwan-US and US-PRC [People’s Republic of China] relations remains unchanged”.

He said: “The language and the visit seem to be a means for the US to demonstrate support for Taiwan while avoiding provocative action.

“It really seems up to Beijing whether it wishes to make a big issue out of the visit, that is to say, substantive action beyond the usual protestation.”


Two mainland Chinese fishermen drown after Taiwan coastguard pursuit

Two mainland Chinese fishermen drown after Taiwan coastguard pursuit

China has fiercely opposed previous visits to Taiwan by US lawmakers. When Nancy Pelosi, then the House speaker of the US House of Representatives, visited in August 2022, Beijing carried out a series of large-scale military exercises around the island and cut off cooperation with the US in several areas.

Chong said Beijing “is currently seeking to generally improve its external ties”, which “may encourage [it] to be more restrained than following the Pelosi visit”.

South China Morning Post

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