US senators defy China threats with Taiwan visit

Published April 15, 2022
Bob Menendez, chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and other members of the US delegation pose for a family photo with Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu as they arrive at Taipei Songshan airport in Taipei, Taiwan. — Reuters
Bob Menendez, chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and other members of the US delegation pose for a family photo with Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu as they arrive at Taipei Songshan airport in Taipei, Taiwan. — Reuters

TAIPEI: A delegation of United States lawmakers led by vocal China hawk Senator Lindsey Graham arrived in Taiwan on Thursday for a two-day trip as Beijing threatened “strong measures” in response.

The group, which also includes Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Menendez, is making the latest in a string of visits by foreign politicians to the island in defiance of pressure from Beijing.

A US government plane touched down in Taipei on Thursday evening for what Washington’s de facto embassy said were talks on “US-Taiwan relations, regional security, and other significant issues of mutual interest”.

Taiwan’s foreign ministry said the group would meet President Tsai Ing-wen, foreign minister Joseph Wu and defence officials.

China’s Communist Party has never controlled self-ruled Taiwan but it views the island as part of its territory and has vowed to one day seize it, by force if necessary. Those threats have become more bellicose under President Xi Jinping, making the security of Taiwan a rare subject of bipartisan support in Washington.

Menendez was among a group of lawmakers who introduced a bill in February to rename Taipei’s de facto embassy in Washington the “Taiwan Representative Office”.

That would be a diplomatic departure from the tradition of using the word “Taipei”.

Beijing baulks at use of the word Taiwan on the international stage and opposes any country having official exchanges with the democratic island.

Lithuania’s recent decision to allow Taiwan to use its own name for a representative office triggered Beijing to launch a trade war against Vilnius that has angered the European Union.

China’s foreign ministry warned the US senators against “going down on the wrong and dangerous path” ahead of their arrival.

Published in Dawn, April 15th, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

Wheat price crash
Updated 20 May, 2024

Wheat price crash

What the government has done to Punjab’s smallholder wheat growers by staying out of the market amid crashing prices is deplorable.
Afghan corruption
20 May, 2024

Afghan corruption

AMONGST the reasons that the Afghan Taliban marched into Kabul in August 2021 without any resistance to speak of ...
Volleyball triumph
20 May, 2024

Volleyball triumph

IN the last week, while Pakistan’s cricket team savoured a come-from-behind T20 series victory against Ireland,...
Border clashes
19 May, 2024

Border clashes

THE Pakistan-Afghanistan frontier has witnessed another series of flare-ups, this time in the Kurram tribal district...
Penalising the dutiful
19 May, 2024

Penalising the dutiful

DOES the government feel no remorse in burdening honest citizens with the cost of its own ineptitude? With the ...
Students in Kyrgyzstan
Updated 19 May, 2024

Students in Kyrgyzstan

The govt ought to take a direct approach comprising convincing communication with the students and Kyrgyz authorities.