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US congressional delegation visits Taiwan on heels of Pelosi trip | Taiwan

A US congressional delegation has arrived in Taiwan days after China held military exercises around the island in retaliation for the visit of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The five-member delegation, led by Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, will meet President Tsai Ing-wen and attend a banquet hosted by Secretary of State Joseph Wu during the visit, according to Taiwan’s State Department.

The American Institute in Taiwan said US politicians would discuss “US-Taiwan relations, regional security, trade and investment, global supply chains, climate change and other important issues of mutual concern”.

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Quick guide

China-Taiwan relations

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A brief history

The Chinese government claims Taiwan as a province of China and does not rule out taking it by force.

At the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, the losing Kuomintang government fled to the island of Taiwan and established the Government of the Republic of China (ROC) in exile. On the mainland, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) established the People’s Republic of China.

From the 1970s, many countries began to shift their formal ties from the ROC to Beijing, and today fewer than 15 world governments recognize the ROC (Taiwan) as a country.

The CCP has never ruled Taiwan and since the end of the civil war, Taiwan has enjoyed de facto independence.

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Since the decades-long period of martial law ended in the 1980s, Taiwan has also grown into a vibrant democracy with free elections and media.

But unification is an important goal of the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping. The island’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, has said Taiwan is already a sovereign country without the need to declare independence, but Beijing views Taiwan’s democratically elected government as separatists.

Under Xi’s rule, aggression against Taiwan has increased and analysts believe the threat of invasion is its highest in decades.

In recent years, the People’s Liberation Army has sent hundreds of warplanes to Taiwan’s air defense identification zone as part of greatly increased activities in the “grey zone”, which borders on combat but does not meet the threshold of war.

Taiwan is working to modernize its military and is buying large numbers of military assets and weapons from the US in the hopes it can deter Xi and the CCP from taking a step. Helen Davidson

Photo: Tingshu Wang/X06979

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Taiwan greeted the delegation’s visit as another sign of warm ties between Taipei and Washington. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expresses its sincere welcome” [to the delegation]the ministry said in a statement. “As China continues to escalate tensions in the region, the US Congress has again organized a heavyweight delegation to visit Taiwan, demonstrating a friendship unafraid of China’s threats and intimidation, and the US’s strong support for Taiwan emphasized.”

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The other members of the delegation are Democratic members John Garamendi and Alan Lowenthal of California and Don Beyer of Virginia, and Republican Representative Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen of American Samoa.

The Chinese embassy in Washington said on Sunday that “members of the US Congress must act in accordance with the US government’s one-China policy” and argued that the latest congress visit “proves once again that the US does not want to see stability in the Taiwan Strait and has spared no effort to fuel confrontation between the two sides and interfere in China’s internal affairs.”

China sees Taiwan as its own territory that will one day be taken, by force if necessary. For a week after Pelosi’s visit this month, it launched warships, missiles and fighter jets into the waters and skies around the island. Pelosi was the highest-ranking US official to visit Taiwan in decades.

Taiwan has accused China of using its visit as an excuse to launch exercises that would allow it to rehearse for an invasion. It held its own exercises simulating defenses against a Chinese invasion of its main island. China halted its exercises but said it would continue to patrol the Taiwan Strait.

In its daily update, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said on Sunday it had detected 22 Chinese aircraft and six ships operating around the strait. Of those, 11 planes passed through the median line, an unofficial border between Taiwan and China that Beijing does not recognize.

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Taiwan’s presidential office said the group would meet with Tsai on Monday morning. “Especially at a time when China is raising tensions in the Taiwan Strait and the region with military exercises, Markey, who leads a delegation to visit Taiwan, is once again demonstrating the strong support of the US Congress for Taiwan,” it said.

Markey’s office said lawmakers in Taiwan “will reaffirm the United States’ support for Taiwan as guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the joint US-China communiqués and six guarantees, and will provide stability and peace in the Taiwan Strait.” cheer on.”

The group would “meet elected leaders and members of the private sector to discuss shared interests, including easing tensions in the Taiwan Strait and expanding economic cooperation, including investment in semiconductors,” Markey’s office said.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs released photos of four lawmakers who were met at Taipei’s Songshan Airport, who arrived on a US Air Force transport plane while Markey arrived at Taoyuan International Airport.

Last week, China vowed zero tolerance for “separatist activities” in Taiwan and reiterated its threat that it would take control of the self-ruled island by force if provoked.

“We are ready to create huge space for peaceful reunification, but we will not leave room for separatist activity in any form,” China’s Taiwanese business bureau said in a white paper on Wednesday.

It said China “would not renounce the use of force, and we reserve the right to take all necessary measures”. However, it added: “We will only be forced to take drastic measures to respond to the provocation of separatist elements or outside forces if they ever cross our red lines.”

China last issued a white paper on Taiwan in 2000.

AFP and Reuters contributed to this report

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