Taiwan President meets US lawmakers amid tensions with China

Kyodo News

Posted at Aug 15 2022 03:35 PM

 A handout photo made available by the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, shows (L-R), US Representative Alan Lowenthal, US Congressman John Garamendi, Taiwan’s Director-General Yu-Tien Hsu, of the Department of North American Affairs under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, US Congressman Don Bayer, and Congresswoman Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen, posing for photographs upon arrival at Songshan International airport, in Taipei, Taiwan, on August 14, 2022. EPA-EFE/MOFA Taiwan handout
 A handout photo made available by the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, shows (L-R), US Representative Alan Lowenthal, US Congressman John Garamendi, Taiwan’s Director-General Yu-Tien Hsu, of the Department of North American Affairs under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, US Congressman Don Bayer, and Congresswoman Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen, posing for photographs upon arrival at Songshan International airport, in Taipei, Taiwan, on August 14, 2022. EPA-EFE/MOFA Taiwan handout

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen held talks with a delegation of US lawmakers on Monday, local media reported, amid heightened military tensions between the self-ruled island and mainland China.

Earlier this month, Beijing carried out large-scale military drills in areas encircling Taiwan in retaliation for a trip to the democratic island by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the third-highest-ranking official in the country.

Communist-led China -- which views Taiwan as a renegade province to be reunified with the mainland, by force if necessary -- has lambasted the latest visit to the island by the US delegation headed by Senator Ed Markey.

The Global Times, a tabloid of the ruling Communist Party, quoted Chinese experts as saying it is the United States that is making repeated provocations that keep tensions from easing.

The Tsai administration has been trying to bolster relations with the United States in an apparent bid to counter the leadership of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Having led a congressional delegation to Asia that saw her become the first US House speaker in 25 years to visit Taiwan, Pelosi said, "We will not allow China to isolate Taiwan."

China and Taiwan have been governed separately since they split in 1949 as a result of a civil war.

Since it switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, Washington has committed to a one-China policy under which it recognizes the communist leadership in the mainland as the "sole legal government of China."

But the United States maintains substantive, though unofficial, exchanges with Taiwan and supplies it with billions of dollars in arms and spare parts for its defense, a constant source of friction with China.