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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian warned that the U.S. is ‘going down the wrong and dangerous path’
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian warned that the U.S. is ‘going down the wrong and dangerous path’ by not adhering to the One China principle.
Zhao called the visit ‘condescending’ and ‘irresponsible.’
Senators Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), Bob Menendez (D., N.J.), Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Ben Sasse (R., Neb.), Rob Portman (R., Ohio), and Representative Ronny Jackson (R., Texas), all went on the trip. They traveled on a U.S. Air Force jet, meaning the Biden administration had sanctioned the trip.
The lawmakers met with Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu at the Taipei airport. They made the stop after a trip to Australia to discuss increasing U.S. troop presence there to defend against Chinese aggression.
The delegation is expected to meet with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng before departing Friday evening.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers pose for a photo with Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu as they arrive at Taipei Songshan airport in Taipei, Taiwan April 14
Bob Menendez, chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and other members of the U.S. delegation arrive at Taipei Songshan airport in Taipei, Taiwan April 14
Menendez bumps elbows with Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu. The lawmakers made the stop after a trip to Australia to discuss increasing U.S. troop presence there to defend against Chinese aggression
Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang touted the visit as evidence of a ‘rock solid’ relationship between the U.S. and Taiwan.
Graham called China a ‘bad neighbor’ to Australia in making the case for more troops in the nation in an interview with Sky News Australia.
‘I want to help Australia to make sure that when China looks at Australia they look at somebody they don’t want to mess with,’ Graham said.
Menendez revealed that National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan will soon travel to the Soloman Islands, as China has been courting the nation for a security deal.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had been eyeing a trip to Taiwan last week, and Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi called the speaker’s planned trip a ‘red line’ for U.S.-China relations.
China sees Taiwan as an extension of its territory; Taiwan believes itself an independent nation. The U.S. has for decades pursued strategic ambiguity, not formally recognizing Taiwan’s autonomy but warning China against invading the island territory.
The U.S. is intentionally vague about whether it would come to Taiwan’s support if China did try to take over, even while providing arms aid and occasional visits from U.S. officials to show support for Taiwan.
Chinese aggression has stepped up in Taiwan in recent months – China’s People’s Liberation Army sends fighter jets flying toward the island on a near-daily basis.
Just this week Taiwan’s military published an official handbook advising civilians on how to prepare for a potential Chinese invasion, including where to find bomb shelters and how to stockpile emergency supplies.
Drawn from similar guides by Sweden and Japan, it tells residents where to find bomb shelters via mobile phone apps and what to do in an emergency including how to distinguish air raid sirens.
Taiwan remains massively outgunned against China but the mountainous island would be a formidable challenge for any military to conquer.
Last month, U.S. Admiral John Aquilino, head of Indo-Pacific Command, said China had displayed a ‘boldness’ during the past year – from its increasingly assertive stance toward Taiwan to its hypersonic weapon test last July.
But it was Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, he said, that should put the world on alert.
‘I don’t think anyone five months ago would have predicted an invasion of the Ukraine. So I think the number one lesson is: “Hey, this could really happen,”‘ he told the Financial Times during a visit to Australia.
‘Number two, don’t be complacent… We have to be prepared at all times.’
His warning comes after months of Chinese aggression directed at Taiwan, including nine Chinese aircraft entering its air defence zone on the day Russian troops invaded Ukraine.