9 U.S. lawmakers ask Blinken to visit Taiwan during China trip

9 U.S. lawmakers ask Blinken to visit Taiwan during China trip

China News Agency, Washington, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) — Nine members of the U.S. House of Representatives called on Secretary of State Antony Blinken to stop in Taipei during his visit to Beijing on Feb. 5-6, in line with the spirit of the Taiwan Travel Act and honor Joe The Biden administration’s what he called a “rock-solid” commitment to Taiwan.

The request was made in a letter by Republican Representatives Tom Tiffany, Scott Perry, Dan Crenshaw, Andy Ogles, Burgess Owens, Nancy Mays, Proposed in a joint letter signed by Scott DeJarrus, Byron Donalds and Earl L. “Buddy” Carter.

CNA obtained a copy of the letter, which was sent to Blinken on Wednesday.

If Blinken visited Taipei, the delegates said, it would “send a clear message that the United States strongly opposes China’s reckless military provocations in the region — actions that President Biden has called ‘coercive’ and a threat to regional peace and stability.” threats” in the letter.

It would also be an opportunity for Blinken to “publicly address growing concerns” about recent delays in the delivery of weapons systems to Taiwan by the United States, they said.

“Some of these systems are related to arms sales approved as far back as 2019, including everything from the F-16 to other asymmetric weapons critical to Taiwan’s defense capabilities,” they said.

Blinken’s visit to Taiwan would be “consistent with the congressional intent of the Taiwan Travel Act, which makes clear U.S. policy to encourage senior U.S. executive branch officials to visit Taiwan and meet with their counterparts,” they said.

The delegates asked Blinken to consider their request in order to improve Taiwan’s bilateral relationship with the United States.

Blinken’s visit to China will be the first visit by a current U.S. Secretary of State since October 2018.

Blinken is expected to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit, the Financial Times reported on Thursday.

In related news, US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said on Thursday that China cannot decide where he can go, although he currently has no plans to visit Taiwan.

“I don’t think China can tell me where I can go anytime, anywhere,” McCarthy told reporters on Capitol Hill, when asked how he reacted to China’s warning against visiting Taiwan.

US media Punchbowl News quoted a Biden administration official with knowledge of the matter on January 23 as saying that the Pentagon is in the early stages of preparations for McCarthy’s visit to Taiwan in the spring.

However, according to McCarthy on Thursday, he “does not have any arrangements in Taiwan right now.”

China held a few days of large-scale military exercises in Taiwan in August last year, following former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei on Aug. 2-3. The move was seen as retaliation for Pelosi’s visit.

Since then, the People’s Liberation Army has routinely used military aircraft and ships to breach the Taiwan Strait’s median line, which used to be the default border.

On Thursday, Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan spokesman Yu Hsik-kun, who is visiting Washington, said it was “natural for democracies to have congressional exchanges”.

“If China doesn’t want to fully demonstrate its insecurity, it should not overreact,” You said.

(Authors: Stacy Hsu, Jiang Zhenye, Sean Lin)

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