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US Lawmakers, Taiwan President Meet    11/26 06:18

   Five U.S. lawmakers met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Friday in a 
surprise one-day visit intended to reaffirm the United States' "rock solid" 
support for the self-governing island.

   TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) -- Five U.S. lawmakers met with Taiwanese President Tsai 
Ing-wen on Friday in a surprise one-day visit intended to reaffirm the United 
States' "rock solid" support for the self-governing island.

   The bipartisan group of lawmakers from the U.S. House of Representatives 
arrived in Taiwan on Thursday night and planned to meet with senior leaders 
including Tsai, said the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto U.S. 
embassy. No further details were provided about their itinerary.

   The visit comes as tensions between Taiwan and China have risen to their 
highest level in decades. Taiwan has been self-ruled since the two sides split 
during a civil war in 1949, but China considers the island part of its own 
territory.

   China was quick to condemn the trip when news first broke Thursday night.

   "When news of our trip broke yesterday, my office received a blunt message 
from the Chinese Embassy, telling me to call off the trip," Representative 
Elissa Slotkin, a Michigan Democrat who is part of the delegation, wrote on 
Twitter.

   In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian condemned the 
visit, calling it a violation of the "one-China principle" under which Taiwan 
is considered part of China.

   "That individual U.S. politicians wantonly challenge the one-China principle 
and embolden the 'Taiwan independence' forces has aroused the strong 
indignation of 1.4 billion Chinese people," Zhao said. He added that 
unification of Taiwan and China is an "unstoppable historical trend."

   Representatives Mark Takano, D-Calif., Colin Allred, D-Texas., Sara Jacobs, 
D-Calif., and Nancy Mace, R-S.C., are also part of the delegation.

   "We are here in Taiwan this week to remind our partners and allies, after 
two trying years that we've endured, that our commitment and shared 
responsibility for a free and secure Indo-Pacific region remain stronger than 
ever," Takano said.

   Takano added that the U.S. relationship with Taiwan is "rock solid and has 
remained steadfast as the ties between us have deepened."

   Tsai, who welcomed the lawmakers at the Presidential Office in Taipei, noted 
the two sides' cooperation in veterans' affairs, economic issues and trade 
while reiterating the island's close alignment with the U.S.

   "Taiwan will continue to step up cooperation with the United States in order 
to uphold our shared values of freedom and democracy and to ensure peace and 
stability in the region," Tsai said.

   The visit is the third by U.S. lawmakers to Taiwan this year and comes just 
a few weeks after a group of six Republican members of Congress visited the 
island. That delegation met with President Tsai, National Security Secretary 
General Wellington Koo and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, among others.

   In June, three members of Congress flew to Taiwan to donate badly needed 
vaccines at a time when the island was struggling to get enough.

   The Biden administration has also invited Taiwan to a Summit for Democracy 
next month, a move that drew a sharp rebuke from China.

   In the Solomon Islands this week, anti-government rioters held protests and 
looted parts of the capital city in part over complaints about a 2019 decision 
to switch diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China. China has been on a 
campaign to poach Taiwan's remaining diplomatic allies.

 
 
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