Five U.S. lawmakers defy China by meeting with officials in Taiwan

“When the news of our trip broke out yesterday, my office received a direct message from the Chinese embassy telling me that I should cancel the trip,” the rep said. Elissa Slotkin, a Michigan Democrat, wrote Thursday on Twitter. “The automotive industry’s largest supplier of microchips is here in Taiwan, so supply chain issues will definitely be on the agenda.”

Slotkin said the side trip to Taiwan came after celebrating Thanksgiving with U.S. troops in South Korea, and that the stop would “be good to get in touch with leaders here to discuss a wide range of economic and national security issues.”

Taiwan occupies a difficult position in the deteriorating relationship between Washington and Beijing, with tensions rising as China increases its military position and warplanes around the autonomous island.

The two-part congressional delegation that arrived Thursday is led by House Veterans’ Affairs chairman Mark Takano, a California Democrat, and included panelists Slotkin and reps. Colin Allred, a Texas Democrat, and Nancy Mace, a South Carolina Republican, as well as Rep. Sara Jacobs, a California Democrat, according to Reuters, who first reported the trip.
The news of the lawmakers’ trip comes a day after the Biden administration invited Taiwan to its “summit for democracy”, which takes place next month – a decision that the Chinese government called a “mistake”, Reuters reported.
Earlier this month, President Joe Biden made it clear that he did not encourage Taiwan’s “independence” after using the word to describe the progress he had made during a discussion about the island with his Chinese counterpart.
“I said they have to decide – Taiwan, not us. We do not encourage independence,” Biden said on the asphalt of an airport in New Hampshire, where he promoted his recently signed infrastructure law.

“We encourage them to do exactly what Taiwan law requires,” he continued, referring to the 1979 law that dictated the American approach to the island. “That’s what we do. Let them decide. Punctuation.”

Biden explained his position as he greeted the participants after his infrastructure speech that day, saying he had made limited progress on the subject with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“We made it very clear that we support Taiwan law, and that is it,” he said at the time.

“It’s independence,” he continued. “It makes its own decisions.”

The word “independence” is a trigger when it comes to Taiwan; officially the United States does not support the island’s independence. Instead, the countries enjoy unofficial relations, and the United States provides defensive support.

CNN’s Rachel Janfaza and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.


Leave a Comment