Five American lawmakers landed in Taiwan on Sunday in a surprise visit days after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi raised the ire of the Chinese government for her visit to the island.
Democrat Sen. Ed Markey, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations East Asia, Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Subcommittee, led the unannounced delegation to Taiwan. He was accompanied by Democrat Reps. John Garamendi, Alan Lowenthal, and Don Beyer, as well as Republican Rep. Amata Radewagen, who represents American Samoa.
Markey’s visit to Taiwan came following his trip to South Korea, where he met with South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and other leaders on Sunday. He took a trip to Taiwan on a separate flight to join the other U.S. lawmakers who traveled independently from the United States.
“The delegation will have a meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen and visit the Taiwanese Legislator's Foreign and National Defense Committee," said the U.S. embassy in a press release.
According to Radio Free Asia, China conducted a new round of military drills around Taiwan on Monday in response to Markey’s visit to Taipei, where he met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen.
“The visit is not a challenge to China but to re-state what Biden administration officials and Biden himself have told their Chinese counterparts: U.S. Congress members have the right to visit Taiwan,” stated Norah Huang, associate research fellow at the Prospect Foundation, a Taiwanese think-tank to the publication. “The visit is important as to reiterate the U.S. support to Taiwan, that the U.S. is implementing its One China Policy and isn’t intimidated.”
Chinese state media called the two-day visit by the U.S. delegation led by the Democrat “sneaky” and “provoking tensions” in the Taiwan Strait.
China maintains, and the United States officially agrees, that Taiwan is a part of China despite its efforts to be recognized as a sovereign state.