U.S. senator arrives in Taiwan, defying angry Beijing

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TAIPEI, Aug. 25 (Reuters) – A US lawmaker on Senate Commerce and Armed Forces Committees arrived in Taiwan on Thursday for the third visit by a US dignitary this month, defying pressure from Beijing to halt the trips.

Senator Marsha Blackburn arrived in the Taiwanese capital Taipei aboard a US military plane, live television images showed from downtown Songshan airport. She was received on the tarmac of the airport by Douglas Hsu, director general of Taiwan’s foreign ministry, Blackburn’s office said.

“Taiwan is our strongest partner in the Indo-Pacific region. Regular high-level visits to Taipei are a long-standing US policy,” Blackburn said in a statement. “I will not be bullied by communist China for turning my back on the island.”

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China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory over strong objections from the democratically elected government in Taipei, launched military exercises near the island after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited in early August.

Taiwan’s foreign ministry said Blackburn would meet President Tsai Ing-wen during her trip, which ends Saturday, as well as top security official Wellington Koo and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu.

“The two sides will discuss extensively on issues such as Taiwan-US security and economic and trade relations,” the ministry added in a brief statement.

Taiwan’s presidential office said Tsai will meet with Blackburn on Friday morning. The Chinese embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Blackburn, a Republican from Tennessee, previously expressed support for the trip of Pelosi, a member of US President Joe Biden’s Democratic Party.

Pelosi’s visit infuriated China, which responded with test launches of ballistic missiles over Taipei for the first time, and by abandoning some lines of dialogue with Washington.

She was followed about a week later by a group of five other US lawmakers, with the Chinese military responding by conducting more exercises near Taiwan. read more

The United States does not have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but is required by law to provide the island with the means to defend itself.

China has never ruled out using force to control Taiwan.

The government of Taiwan says the People’s Republic of China has never ruled the island and thus has no right to claim it, and that only the 23 million people can decide their future.

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Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Additional reporting by Michael Martina and Susan Heavey in Washington; Editing by Howard Goller and Alistair Bell

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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