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US lawmakers arrive in Chinese Taipei amid simmering tensions with China

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This handout picture shows US lawmakers posing with Taiwanese diplomat Douglas Yu-tien Hsu (C) after arriving at Sungshan Airport in Taipei on August 14, 2022. (Via AFP)

A US congressional delegation has arrived in Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) on an unannounced two-day visit amid high tensions between Beijing and Washington over a recent controversial visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the self-ruled island.

The five-member delegation, led by Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts, arrived in Taipei on Sunday.

The lawmakers will meet with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Monday, according to the presidential office.

The office also said in a statement that the visit to the island “demonstrates the United States Congress' firm support for Taiwan.”

Markey's office also said in a statement that the lawmakers "will reaffirm the United States’ support for Taiwan…and will encourage stability and peace across the Taiwan Strait."

Tensions have been on the rise in the region since Pelosi visited Taiwan despite stern warnings from Beijing that the trip would have a “severe impact” on bilateral ties with the United States and that her move “gravely undermines” regional peace and stability.

During her trip, Pelosi said the visit intended to make it "unequivocally clear" that the US would "not abandon" the democratically governed island.

Her visit infuriated China, which has sovereignty over the self-ruled Chinese Taipei and has publicly stated that it may take it by force one day, if necessary.

Under the “one China” policy, nearly all countries across the globe, the US included, recognize Beijing’s sovereignty over Chinese Taipei. 

Washington, however, engaged in direct contact with the secessionist government in Taipei, in violation of its own stated policy. The US also supplies Taipei with massive amounts of armaments.

China started military exercises after Pelosi’s visit and announced more drills on Monday after the scheduled end of the ones launched last week. Taipei began its own live-fire military drills on Tuesday, accusing China of “gross violations of international law.”

Taiwan also accused Beijing of planning to invade the island.

In Beijing, the Defense Ministry maintained its diplomatic pressure on Washington, saying, “The current tense situation in the Taiwan Strait is entirely provoked and created by the US side on its own initiative, and the US side must bear full responsibility and serious consequences for this.”

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