Against warnings, Australian MPs land in Taiwan
The visit comes in defiance of China's warning against such a move.
Australia disregarded Beijing's warnings on violating China's territorial integrity as a delegation of Australian lawmakers landed in Taiwan, sources reported on Tuesday.
"There is a group of bipartisan members of the parliament from Australia currently visiting Taiwan. They are already here," Taiwan's Ministry Spokesperson Joanne Ou told reporters, adding that the delegation will "discuss a wide array of issues of mutual interests."
"We appreciate that the Australian parliament is very friendly to Taiwan," Ou said, calling Taipei's relationship with Canberra "robust, diverse and mutually beneficial."
The group of Australian MPs left on Sunday for a five-day visit to Taiwan, a spokesperson for one of the delegates said Saturday.
On Monday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry called on Australia to "stop sending the wrong signal to 'Taiwan independence' forces."
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese tried to downplay the visit by telling reporters, "There have been backbench visits to Taiwan for a long time. This is another one. This isn't a government visit."
According to The Weekend Australian, the delegation is composed of six MPs from the ruling center-left Labor Party and the conservative opposition Liberal Party.
Albanese claimed that the two parties respected Canberra's "One China" policy, the report added.
The Australians were due to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, and other top officials to express their wish for peace in the Asia-Pacific area, as per the media outlet.
On November 26, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen stepped down as head of her ruling party Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) after it suffered defeat in Taiwan's local elections, while the Beijing-friendly main opposition, Kuomintang (KMT), claimed victory.
Earlier today, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that a crisis in the Taiwan Strait will bear 'devastating' outcomes for the global economy, which is already in dire straits.
"If there were to be a crisis, which is, of course, the very thing that we want to avert, the impact on countries around the world, the impact on the world economy could be devastating," Blinken said, clarifying further that the Taiwan Strait is a daily route for half of the world's container shipments.
"I think what China is hearing from other countries, not just us, is that there should not be unilateral steps to change the status quo," Blinken continued.