WASHINGTON – Five U.S. lawmakers arrived in Taiwan on Thursday to meet with government officials and defied a Beijing admonition to stay away from the much-contested Democratic island.
“When the news of our trip came yesterday, my office received a direct message from the Chinese Embassy telling me that I should cancel the trip,” said Representative Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich. wrote 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’s office later shared with NBC News excerpts of a letter it said it received from the embassy on Wednesday.
“We urge the congresswoman to immediately cancel the planned visit to Taiwan and not to support and encourage separatist forces for ‘Taiwan’s independence’ so that it does not cause enormous damage to China – US relations and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” he wrote. embassy.
The embassy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The two-part delegation that arrived Thursday, led by the chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, Mark Takano, D-Calif., Included panelists Slotkin and reps. Colin Allred, D-Texas and Nancy Mace, RS.C., as well as rep. Sara Jacobs, D-Calif., According to Reuters, which first reported the trip.
U.S. support for Taiwan’s military and the increase in unofficial ties with Taiwan in recent years have strained US-China relations. China claims Taiwan and has no official ties to countries that recognize the self-governing island as an independent nation. As a result, the United States does not officially recognize Taiwan, nor does it maintain an embassy there.
Yet the United States has upgraded its relationship with Taiwan over the past many years, including through a consular agreement, continued support for Taiwan’s security, and visits by U.S. officials. An earlier trip by members of Congress led the Chinese to respond with military exercises near Taiwan.
The U.S. position on China’s relationship with Taiwan is a “strategic ambiguity” designed to leave the question of how Washington would react to either a Chinese attack on Taiwan or a siege. President Joe Biden said at a CNN town hall meeting in October that the United States would defend Taiwan against an attack, but the White House quickly clarified that there was no change in U.S. policy.