Taiwan (AP) A bipartisan U.S. congressional delegation reiterated its support for Taiwan during a visit Thursday, the first since the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party won a third straight term on January 13.
China, the United States’ main competitor for global influence, claims Taiwan as part of its territory and threatens to use force to bring the self-ruled island under its control. Beijing strongly condemned Lai Ching-te’s election and appeared determined to continue its policy of not engaging in dialogue with the island’s government, a practice that began when Tsai Ing-wen assumed the island’s presidency in 2016.
“American support for Taiwan is strong; it’s real, and it’s 100% bipartisan,” said Florida Republican Rep. Mario Díaz Balart. “Know that we’re proud of the people of Taiwan. We’re proud of the relationship and how strong it’s always been. It’s guaranteed. It’s going to be even stronger.”
Balart was joined by California Democratic legislator Ami Bera, who stated that “In the 21st century, there is no place for aggressive actions. “We have to learn to live together, trade together, work together, and solve problems together.”
“So we look forward to working together to continue to protect Taiwan’s peace, prosperity, and future,” he added.
For his part, the president-elect thanked the co-chairs of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus for their visit, saying that “Taiwan is now the Taiwan of the world.”
“Going forward, I will work with Vice President-elect Hsiao Bi-khim to continue building the foundation laid by President Tsai to unite the people of Taiwan, strengthen social resistance, and continue to protect the status quo of peace and stability throughout the country. Strait, Lai said.
Lai also discussed the continuation of military aid from Washington and a proposed tax agreement for their companies.
Beijing opposes any kind of official contact between the United States and Taiwan. In 2022, it responded to the visit of the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, with some of the largest military maneuvers in years, which included the launch of missiles and a simulation of a blockade of territory. In addition, he considered the visit of foreign government officials a recognition of the island’s sovereignty.
Washington severed its formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1979 to recognize China, but under US law, it must guarantee that the island has the capacity to defend itself.
China has always mobilized warplanes and navy ships to intimidate and harass Taiwan, and in the 24 hours until 6:00 a.m. Thursday, 18 planes and six ships were operating near the island. Three Chinese balloons were also recorded passing over the island, although it was unclear whether they had a military or intelligence-gathering purpose.