- The Washington Times - Friday, November 26, 2021

A bipartisan group of five House lawmakers met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Friday in an effort to reaffirm U.S. support for the self-governed island, prompting fresh objections from China.

The lawmakers touched down unannounced on Thursday as part of a broader visit to the region, marking the second congressional delegation to Taiwan this month.

“We are here in Taiwan this week to remind our partners and allies, after two trying years that we’ve endured, that our commitment and shared responsibility for a free and secure Indo-Pacific region remain stronger than ever,” Rep. Mark Takano, California Democrat, said according to the Associated Press.

Democratic Reps. Elissa Slotkin of Michigan, Colin Allred of Texas, Sara Jacobs of California, and Republican Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina were also part of the delegation.

Ms. Tsai hosted the lawmakers at the Presidential Office in Taipei and reaffirmed Taiwan’s alignment with the U.S.

Taiwan will continue to step up cooperation with the United States in order to uphold our shared values of freedom and democracy and to ensure peace and stability in the region,” Ms. Tsai said.

The visit drew quick condemnation from China.

“When news of our trip broke yesterday, my office received a blunt message from the Chinese Embassy, telling me to call off the trip,” Ms. Slotkin said on Twitter late Thursday.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said the visit was a violation of the “one-China principle” and said that the reunification of Taiwan under China is an “unstoppable historical trend.”

“That individual U.S. politicians wantonly challenge the one-China principle and embolden the ‘Taiwan independence’ forces has aroused the strong indignation of 1.4 billion Chinese people,” Mr. Zhao said.

The American Institute of Taiwan, the de facto U.S. embassy in Taipei, said the congressional delegation also met with Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu and Veterans Affairs Council Minister Feng Shih-kuan. The lawmakers also visited the Hutoushan Innovation Hub in Taoyuan.

“In all of these meetings, the delegation had an opportunity to exchange views with Taiwan counterparts on a wide range of issues of importance to both the United States and Taiwan,” a representative from the institute said in a statement Friday.

The lawmakers’ trip comes just weeks after a group of six Republican lawmakers visited the island earlier this month and marks the third visit by U.S. lawmakers this year.

- This article is based in part on wire-service reporting

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

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