Another US congressional delegation to Taiwan amid tensions

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Another U.S. congressional delegation is visiting Taiwan as tensions remain high with China over its claims to the self-governing island.

A steady stream of American visitors have come to meet Taiwanese officials since the visit of Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi in early August. Since then, China has stepped up its military harassment of Taiwan, sending warships, fighter jets and even drones to the island daily.

The eight-member bipartisan delegation is due to meet Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Thursday.

It is led by Florida Democrat Stephanie Murphy, who is among lawmakers who introduced a bill that would allow the United States to lend weapons to support Taiwan, similar to a bill that had been passed to lend weapons. arms to Ukraine. Last week, the Biden administration approved a billion-dollar arms sale to Taiwan.

Other visitors are Hawaiian Democrat Kaiali’i Kahele and Republicans Scott Franklin from Florida, Joe Wilson from South Carolina, Andy Barr from Kentucky, Darrell Issa from California, Claudia Tenney from New York and Kat Cammack from Florida.

Pelosi was the highest-ranking member of the US government to visit Taiwan in 25 years. China responded by staging protracted military drills that included firing missiles over the island and sending ships across the middle line of the Taiwan Strait, which has long been a buffer between the two sides. Some of the missiles landed in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

China views high-level foreign visits to the island as interference in its affairs and de facto recognition of Taiwanese sovereignty. The recent Chinese military exercises were seen by some as a rehearsal for future military action against the island, which US military leaders say could take place in the next few years.

After Pelosi’s trip, a US senator and another congressional delegation traveled to Taiwan, along with officials from Japan and Palau. In addition, the governors of Arizona and Indiana paid visits focusing on semiconductors, the industry dominated by Taiwanese companies.

US politicians have called their visits a show of support for the island.