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U.S. lawmakers arrive in Taiwan, second trip in a month

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A protester holds flags of Taiwan and the United States in support of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen during a layover after her visit to Latin America in Burlingame, California, United States, January 14, 2017. REUTERS / Stephen Lam

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TAIPEI, Nov. 25 (Reuters) – Five members of the US House of Representatives arrived in Taiwan on Thursday for a short trip that is expected to focus on security issues, the second time in a month that US lawmakers have visited the scene .

The trip comes as China has stepped up military and political pressure to assert its claims for sovereignty over the island, sparking anger in Taipei where the government is committed to defending Taiwan’s freedom and democracy.

The de facto U.S. Embassy in Taiwan said the delegation was made up of Mark Takano, chairman of the House of Veterans Affairs committee, and Colin Allred, Elissa Slotkin, Sara Jacobs and Nancy Mace. They are expected to leave on Friday, he added.

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“The congressional delegation will meet with senior Taiwanese leaders to discuss US-Taiwan relations, regional security and other important issues of mutual interest,” he said.

Taiwan’s central state-run news agency earlier said the trip is expected to focus on meetings with defense officials as well as President Tsai Ing-wen.

Tsai’s office said their once-against visit showed the strength of the friendship between Taiwan and the United States.

The five lawmakers traveled to East Asia on a Thanksgiving trip to Japan and South Korea.

This is the second trip for lawmakers to Taiwan this month.

The Chinese military conducted a combat readiness patrol towards the Taiwan Strait earlier this month, after its Defense Ministry condemned the visit to Taiwan by a delegation from the United States that it said had arrived. aboard a military aircraft.

The United States, like most countries, has no formal ties to Taiwan, but is the democratically ruled island’s largest international donor and arms supplier, much to Beijing’s dismay.

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Report by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Kim Coghill and Toby Chopra

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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