Five US lawmakers visiting Taiwan met with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and other lawmakers on Monday in a show of support for Taiwan amid rising tensions across the Taiwan Strait.
The US congressional delegation arrived on Sunday for a surprise two-day visit, following Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi’s trip earlier this month, according to the dpa news agency.
Following Pelosi’s 19-hour visit to Taipei on August 2-3, China increased its military and economic pressure on Taiwan.
Republicans and Democrats make up the delegation, which includes Senator Ed Markey and Representatives John Garamendi, Alan Lowenthal, Don Beyer, and Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen.
According to local media, lawmakers entered the presidential office on Monday to meet with Tsai before proceeding to the nearby parliamentary building.
Legislator Lo Chih-cheng of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) told reporters that future Taiwan-US military cooperation was discussed during a meeting with US lawmakers.
Lo believes that the US delegation’s visit at such a sensitive time, following China’s large-scale drills near Taiwan, demonstrates that Beijing cannot prevent leading political figures from around the world from visiting Taiwan.
“Their arrival also delivers an important message that American people are standing with Taiwanese people,” Lo said.
Tsai’s office has not provided any information about the meeting.
“I’m travelling to Taiwan with a bipartisan congressional delegation to reaffirm US support for Taiwan and encourage stability and peace across the Taiwan Strait,” Markey said on Twitter.
China’s Defence Ministry spokesperson Wu Qian said in Beijing on Monday that the US delegation’s visit undermined China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Taiwan has had its own government since 1949, but China regards the island as part of its territory.
Beijing opposes formal contacts between other countries and Taipei.