U.S. Congress Delegation Supports Taiwan’s New President Following China Drills: NPR

President Lai Ching-te of Taiwan received a cowboy hat as a gift from Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, during their meeting in Taipei. This gesture took place in the context of a visit by a U.S. congressional delegation to show support for Taiwan’s new leader. The meeting occurred shortly after China conducted military drills near the self-governing island in response to President Lai’s inauguration speech. The photograph, released by the Taiwan Presidential Office, captures this moment.

A delegation from the United States Congress met with Taiwan’s new leader on Monday to show their support. This meeting comes just days after China conducted military drills near the self-governing island in response to the leader’s inauguration.

Rep. Andy Barr, co-chair of the Taiwan caucus in the U.S. Congress, emphasized the unwavering commitment of the United States in providing comprehensive support to Taiwan in the areas of military assistance, diplomatic cooperation, and economic collaboration.

“There should be no doubt, no skepticism, in the United States, Taiwan, or anywhere else in the world, about America’s determination to uphold the current state of affairs and ensure peace in the Taiwan Strait,” stated the Republican Senator from Kentucky during a press conference held in Taipei. This statement was made following a meeting between the delegation and Taiwan President Lai Ching-te.

China considers Taiwan to be a renegade province that it intends to bring under its control, even by force if necessary. The United States, along with most nations, does not have official diplomatic relations with Taiwan. However, it is obligated by its own laws to support Taiwan in its self-defense efforts.

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The Chinese government strongly opposed the congressional visit, stating that it undermines the relations between China and the U.S. and threatens the peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, which refers to the waterway separating China and Taiwan.

According to Beijing’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning, the recent five-day visit by lawmakers goes against the political commitment of the U.S. government to only maintain unofficial relations with Taiwan. Mao Ning stated that this visit sends a seriously wrong signal to the separatist force of Taiwan independence.

Lai, who assumed office just one week ago, is anticipated to uphold the policies of his predecessor, Tsai Ing-wen, who also hailed from the Democratic Progressive Party.

The recently appointed foreign minister, Lin Chia-lung, acknowledged the recent military exercises conducted by China and described the visit of the American delegation as a significant show of unity during a crucial period.

A delegation of six members, consisting of four Republicans and two Democrats, was led by Rep. Michael McCaul, who serves as the chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. It is worth mentioning that Rep. McCaul had previously faced sanctions from China due to his visit to Taiwan in April last year.

He emphasized that the United States will continue to be a dependable ally, and no matter how much pressure or threats are exerted, the regular congressional visits to Taiwan will not be hindered or halted.

Congressman McCaul recently mentioned the approval of a military aid bill for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan by Congress. It is worth noting that China strongly opposes the United States’ decision to arm Taiwan, as stated by Mao.

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The delegation included both Republican and Democratic members. Republicans Young Kim from California and Joe Wilson from South Carolina were part of the delegation, alongside Democrats Jimmy Panetta from California and Chrissy Houlahan from Pennsylvania.

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