WASHINGTON – Five U.S. lawmakers arrived in Taiwan on Thursday to meet with government officials, defying Beijing’s warning to stay away from the hotly contested democratic island.
“When news of our trip broke yesterday, my office received a direct message from the Chinese Embassy, telling me to cancel the trip,” said Representative Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., wrote on Twitter. “The biggest supplier of electronic chips to the automotive industry is here in Taiwan, so supply chain issues will definitely be on the agenda.”
The Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The bipartisan delegation that arrived Thursday, led by House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Mark Takano, D-Calif., Included other Slotkin panel members and Representatives Colin Allred, D-Texas and Nancy Mace, RS .C., As well as the representative. Sara Jacobs, D-Calif., According to Reuters, which first reported on the trip.
U.S. support for the Taiwanese military and increased unofficial relations with Taiwan in recent years have strained U.S.-China relations. China claims Taiwan and has no official ties with countries that recognize the autonomous island as an independent nation. As a result, the United States does not officially recognize Taiwan and does not maintain an embassy there.
Still, the United States has improved its relations with Taiwan in recent years, including through a consular agreement, continued support for Taiwanese security, and visits by US officials. An earlier trip by members of Congress led the Chinese to retaliate with military exercises near Taiwan.
The United States’ position on China’s relations with Taiwan is one of “strategic ambiguity,” which is designed to leave open the question of how Washington would react to a Chinese attack on Taiwan or to a seat. President Joe Biden told a CNN town hall in October that the United States would defend Taiwan from attack, but the White House was quick to make it clear that there was no change in US policy.