More US lawmakers visiting Taiwan 12 days after Pelosi trip

World

In this photo released by the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, from left, U.S. Democratic House member Alan Lowenthal from California, Democratic House members John Garamendi, Donald Yu-Tien Hsu, Director-General, dept. of North American Affairs, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Democratic House member Don Beyer from Virginia and Republican Rep. Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen, a delegate from American Samoa pose for a photo after arriving on a U.S. government plane at Songshan airport in Taipei, Taiwan on Sunday, Aug 14, 2022. The delegation of American lawmakers are visiting Taiwan just 12 days after a visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that angered China. (Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs via AP)

(NewsNation) — A group of five American members of Congress is visiting leaders in Taiwan just 12 days after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi upset China by travelling to the island.

The American group does represent the U.S. government, which does not have official ties with Taiwan.

The following lawmakers are visiting Taiwan: Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.), Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.) and Rep. Amata Coleman Radewagen (R-American Samoa).

The delegation, led by Sen. Ed Markey (D, Mass.) will meet President Tsai Ing-wen to discuss trade opportunities and reducing tensions, the Associated Press reports.

China has yet to formally respond, though their military has been active in the Taiwan Straight since Pelosi’s visit earlier in the month. Taiwan’s defense ministry says 22 Chinese military planes and six naval vessels were observed Sunday.

Before Pelosi’s visit, some Chinese Communist Party voices were calling for the speaker’s plane to be shot down. Her visit was an open secret in the days leading up to it, though she never formally announced she was going.

“I don’t think the president of China should control the schedules of members of Congress,” Pelosi said after her trip.

The source of the tension is China’s belief that Taiwan is its territory. Taiwan’s self-perception is complicated. Ing-wen’s Twitter account identifies her as the “president of the Republic of China (Taiwan).” But it operates as an independent democracy.

In a tweet from Aug. 10, Ing-wen invoked her country’s independence amid Chinese military drills. “Our military is resolved to defend our country, our sovereignty & our democratic way of life,” she wrote.

Taiwan split from China in 1949 after a civil war. When the communists won, the nationalists retreated to Taiwan.

The tension was part of the motivation for Congress to push through a recent bill that provided incentives for companies to build semiconductor manufacturing plants in the U.S. The recently-passed Inflation Reduction Act also provides incentives for car-makers to use American parts in the form of consumer discounts for vehicles that qualify.

The American delegation consists of Markey, Rep. Aumau Amata (R, American Samoa), Rep. John Garamendi (D, Calif.), Alan Lowenthal (D, Calif.) and Rep. Don Beyer (D, Va.)

In this photo released by the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, from left, U.S. Democratic House members John Garamendi shakes hands with Donald Yu-Tien Hsu, Director-General, dept. of North American Affairs, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs after arriving on a U.S. government plane at Songshan airport in Taipei, Taiwan on Sunday, Aug 14, 2022. The delegation of American lawmakers are visiting Taiwan just 12 days after a visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that angered China. (Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs via AP)

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