U.S. congressional delegation makes surprise visit to Taiwan

A US delegation led by Senator Tammy Duckworth, a Democrat from Illinois, arrived in Taipei on Monday for an unannounced visit, the Taiwanese Foreign Ministry said.

Taiwan’s Presidential spokesman Xavier Chang said the delegation will meet with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Tuesday to discuss “regional security, economic and trade cooperation, and all issues related to US-Taiwan bilateral relations.”

During their visit, the delegation will also meet with Premier Su Tseng-chang and Economic Affairs Minister Wang Mei-hua before leaving on Wednesday.

The visit comes after President Joe Biden recently made his first presidential visit to Asia and reignited a conversation about US diplomatic positions in Taiwan and mainland China.

Biden told a press conference in Tokyo earlier this month that the United States would intervene militarily if China tried to take Taiwan by force. The White House was quick to downplay the comments, saying they did not reflect a change in US policy.

As part of its “One China” policy, the United States acknowledges China’s view that Taiwan is part of China, but has never officially recognized Beijing’s claim to the 23 self-governing island. The United States supplies Taiwan with defensive weapons, but has been deliberately vague about its military response to a Chinese attack.

China responded to the president’s strong warning by expressing its “strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition” to Biden’s words and saying it would not allow any outside power to interfere in its “internal affairs.,”

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said on Monday that 30 Chinese warplanes entered the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), the highest daily number in more than four months. In response, the ministry added that the Taiwanese military had broadcast radio alerts and deployed air defense missile systems to monitor activities.

Taiwan was recently left out of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, a regional economic plan that Biden announced during his recent trip to Asia. The setting is Biden’s attempt to engage a region that is increasingly coming under Chinese influence.

However, Taiwan and the United States could start talks to deepen trade and economic ties “within weeks,” two senior Taiwanese government officials told CNN.

Duckworth’s visit follows her earlier trip to Taipei in June 2021, where the US announced that it would deliver 750,000 Covid-19 vaccines to Taiwan.



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