This is a visit that was not announced. The American parliamentarians – a senator and four representatives, Democrats and a Republican – will notably meet President Tsai Ing-wen and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, according to the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This US congressional delegation arrived in Taiwan on Sunday, and will stay until Monday, August 15, according to the American Institute in Taiwan, the US Embassy in the island.
The visit comes a few days after the end of vast military maneuvers, the most important ever carried out by Beijing around Taiwan. The response was sparked by a visit from US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, which infuriated China. The country considers Taiwan, with a population of around 23 million, to be one of its provinces, which it has yet to successfully reunify with the rest of its territory since the end of the Chinese Civil War ( 1949).
Again, China responds angrily. The official Xinhua agency published a commentary with the title: “American politicians should stop playing with fire on the Taiwan question”. Conversely, the Taiwanese Minister of Foreign Affairs hailed the American decision in a press release:
“As China continues to escalate tensions in the region, the US Congress has again sent a high-level delegation to Taiwan, demonstrating a friendship that is unfazed by China’s threats and underscores the support resolute of the United States towards Taiwan”.
Taipei, capital of Taiwan, has accused China of using Nancy Pelosi’s visit as a pretext to train for an invasion. In response, the United States reaffirmed its commitment to the region: American parliamentarians will discuss “US-Taiwan relations, regional security issues, trade and investment, climate change”according to a press release from the American institute.
22 aircraft and six Chinese ships operating near the Taiwan Strait
US officials visit the island frequently, but China had deemed the visit of Ms Pelosi, the highest US official to visit the island in decades, to be a major provocation. Opposed to any initiative giving the Taiwanese authorities international legitimacy, Beijing is against any official contact between Taiwan and other countries.
Faced with the maneuvers launched by Beijing in retaliation, Taiwan had organized its own exercises, simulating the organization of its defense against a Chinese invasion. Beijing only ended its drills after it reiterated its threats to Taipei and said it would continue to patrol the Taiwan Strait.
In its daily update, the Taiwanese Ministry of Defense said on Sunday that it had detected 22 planes and six Chinese ships operating near the strait. 11 of the planes crossed the middle line, an unofficial demarcation between Taiwan and China that Beijing does not recognize.
How Beijing plans to take over the island
The Taiwan Affairs Bureau, a Chinese government agency, released a ” White Book “ detailing how Beijing plans to take over the island, including through economic incentives. It is listed there:
“We are willing to create a wide space (of cooperation) in order to achieve peaceful reunification. But we will leave no leeway for separatist actions aimed at the pseudo-independence of Taiwan. Force would be used as a last resort, in compelling circumstances. We would be forced to take drastic measures in the face of provocations by separatists or external forces, if they were to cross our red lines..
The last White Paper on Taiwan published by China dates back to 2000.
Washington had responded on Friday by announcing a strengthening of its commercial relations with Taiwan and new air and sea crossings in the strait, in response to the actions “provocateurs” from China.