US Congressional delegation arrives in Taiwan
The United States sends a congressional delegation to Taiwan despite rising tensions with China over the non-respect of its sovereignty.
A US congressional delegation arrived in Taiwan on Sunday, Washington's de facto embassy in Taipei said in a statement amid tensions between Washington and Beijing over the former's provocation committed through US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit.
Sunday's unannounced visit came after Pelosi's, which came earlier this month and led to unprecedented air and sea drills, raising the prospect of conflict.
"Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), Representative John Garamendi (D-CA), Representative Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Representative Don Beyer (D-VA), and Representative Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (R-AS) will visit Taiwan from August 14-15, 2022, as part of a larger visit to the Indo-Pacific region," the American Institute in Taiwan said in a statement.
"The delegation will meet with senior Taiwan leaders to discuss US-Taiwan relations, regional security, trade and investment, global supply chains, climate change, and other significant issues of mutual interest," it added.
The Taiwanese foreign ministry lauded the delegation's visit as another sign of warmth between Taipei and Washington.
"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expresses its sincere welcome (to the delegation)," the ministry said in a statement Sunday.
"As China is continuing to escalate tensions in the region, the US Congress has again organized a heavyweight delegation to visit Taiwan, showing a friendship that is not afraid of China's threats and intimidation, and highlighting the US' strong support towards Taiwan."
China announced carrying out fresh military drills around Taiwan on August 8, days after Pelosi's visit to the island gave rise to worse tensions between the two powers.
In parallel, the Taiwanese military held a few days later yet another round of live-fire drills in the Taiwan Strait after the Chinese army concluded its military exercises in the South China Sea in light of tensions with Taipei over US regional interference.
Taiwan's exercises came less than a day after the Chinese military said its drills ended on Wednesday after its forces "successfully completed various tasks" in the Taiwan Strait, vowing to continue patrolling its waters.
In a multi-decadal first, Beijing's Taiwan Affairs Office issued a white book on the island, saying it would "not renounce the use of force" against Taiwan, preserving "the option of taking all necessary measures."
"We are ready to create vast space for peaceful reunification, but we will leave no room for separatist activities in any form," it said in the paper. The last time Beijing issued a white book on Taiwan was in 2000.
The document titled "The Taiwan Question and China's Reunification in the New Era" was jointly prepared and published by the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council and the State Council Information Office of China. Beijing regularly publishes white papers to clarify its policy on various pressing issues.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi previously stressed that China will leave no room for the pro-Taiwanese independence forces as the reunification of Taiwan with China is historically inevitable and all attempts to use Taiwan to contain China are doomed to failure.
Pelosi's visit led China to announce ending cooperation with the United States on a number of issues such as climate change, anti-drug efforts, and military talks.
What was significant about the visit is that it came at a time of great tensions between Beijing and Washington over Taiwan, and it marked the first visit made by a US House Speaker to the island since 1997.