House delegation to talk trade, defense in Taiwan and South Korea

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North Korea is reportedly upgrading its missile launch site after last month's failed rocket launch embarrassed new leader Kim Jong-un. In response to recent provocations, some House Republicans have proposed redeploying tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea.

China is also a source of worry, having recently reaffirmed its claims to the South China Sea, the world's busiest sea lane. The Obama administration last month suggested it would sell new F-16 fighters to Taiwan, infuriating China, which claims the island as its own.

In Taiwan, the U.S. delegation is scheduled to meet with President Ma Ying-jeou; Vice President Wu Den-yih; Premier Chen Chun; Foreign Minister Timothy Yang; Deputy Defense Minister Andrew Yang; members of the National Assembly; and opposition leaders including Tsai Ing-wen.

“Taiwan’s vibrant and growing democracy merits the unwavering support of the United States,” Ros-Lehtinen said. “Taiwan is an important U.S. ally in a region where China is increasingly throwing its weight around, threatening U.S. influence.”

In South Korea, the delegation is scheduled to meet with President Lee Myung-bak; First Vice Foreign Minister Ahn Ho-young; Unification Minister Yu Woo-ik; Vice Defense Minister Lee Young-geol; and leaders of the National Assembly and business groups. 

The delegation is also scheduled to meet with U.S. Army Gen. James Thurman, commander of the Combined Forces Command in South Korea, and with U.S. military personnel.

Topics of discussion include the recently signed bilateral Free Trade Agreement between the United States and South Korea and the North Korean threat.