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US lawmakers pledge support for Taiwan and its new president after Chinese military exercises

US lawmakers pledge support for Taiwan and its new president after Chinese military exercises

 


TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) A U.S. congressional delegation met with Taiwan's new leader Monday to show support, days after China held exercises around the self-ruled island in response to his inauguration.

Representative Andy Barr, co-chair of the Taiwan Caucus in the US Congress, said the United States is fully committed to supporting Taiwan militarily, diplomatically and economically.

There should be no doubt, there should be no skepticism in the United States, in Taiwan or anywhere else in the world, about the American determination to maintain the status quo and peace across the Taiwan Strait, said the Republican from Kentucky during a press conference in the capital. , Taipei, after the delegation met with Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te.

China views Taiwan as a renegade province that must come under its control, by force if necessary. The United States, like most countries, does not maintain formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan but is required by its own laws to provide the island with the means to defend itself.

The Chinese government expressed its strong opposition to the Congressional visit, saying it harmed China-US relations as well as peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, referring to the waterway between China and Taiwan.

The lawmaker's five-day visit goes against the U.S. government's policy commitment to maintain only unofficial relations with Taiwan, sending a very wrong signal to the separatist force for Taiwan independence, the spokesperson said. -Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning in Beijing.

Lai, who took office a week ago, is expected to continue the policies of Tsai Ing-wen, her predecessor from the same Democratic Progressive Party.

New Foreign Minister Lin Chia-lung highlighted recent Chinese exercises and called the U.S. delegation's visit an important gesture of solidarity at a critical time.

The delegation included four Republicans and two Democrats and was led by Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Last year, China sanctioned the Texas Republican after his visit to Taiwan in April.

America is and always will be a reliable partner, and no form of coercion or intimidation will slow or stop routine Congressional visits to Taiwan, he said.

McCaul cited Congress' approval last month of a military aid bill to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. China firmly opposes the United States arming Taiwan, Mao said.

Other members of the delegation were Republicans Young Kim of California and Joe Wilson of South Carolina and Democrats Jimmy Panetta of California and Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania.

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Moritsugu reported from Hong Kong. Associated Press video producer Liu Zheng in Beijing contributed to this report.

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Follow AP's Asia-Pacific coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/asia-pacific

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