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US lawmakers arrive in Taiwan to meet with local officials

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A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers arrived in Taiwan to meet with local officials as part of a much larger delegation trip to visit several Asian nations. 

“After celebrating Thanksgiving with U.S. troops in Korea, I just touched down in Taiwan. After stops in Japan and Korea, it’ll be good to connect with leaders here to discuss a whole host of economic and national security issues,” Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) tweeted on Thursday. 

“The auto industry’s largest supplier of microchips is here in Taiwan, so supply chain issues will most definitely be on the agenda,” she added.

Slotkin said the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., had sought to discourage her from going to Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its territory. 

While the U.S. recognizes Beijing as the sovereign authority over China, including Taiwan, it has long held unofficial diplomatic relations with Taipei. 

“When news of our trip broke yesterday, my office received a blunt message from the Chinese Embassy, telling me to call off the trip,” Slotkin wrote. “But just as with other stops, we’re here to learn about the region and reaffirm the U.S. commitment to our hosts, the Taiwanese. I’m looking forward to an informative trip.”

Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.), also attending the trip, said in a statement on Thursday that the trip was organized by House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) Other members traveling there include Reps. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) and Colin Allred (D-Texas.)

Jacobs said on Thursday that she celebrated Thanksgiving with service members and veterans while she was in South Korea. 

“I was honored to spend Thanksgiving with veterans and service members in South Korea. We ask so much of our military families, especially over the last year and a half during Covid. With so many not being able to travel home to see family, I felt that it was important to come and bring a little bit of home to them. I’m thankful for the opportunity to show them our gratitude this holiday season,” she said in her statement.

The trip to Taiwan comes as tensions between China and Taiwan have steadily ramped up. During a CNN town hall earlier this year, President Biden seemed to indicate that the U.S. would defend Taiwan if it encountered an attack by China. The White House later walked back those statements, however.

The Hill has reached out to Takano’s office and the Chinese Embassy for comment.

Tags China colin allred Colin Allred Elissa Slotkin Elissa Slotkin Joe Biden Mark Takano Mark Takano Nancy Mace Nancy Mace Sara Jacobs Taiwan

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