Updated Nov 26, 2021 - World

U.S. lawmakers visit Taiwan in defiance of Beijing

A US Air Force aircraft Boeing C-40C flight SPAR11 carrying a delegation to Taiwan taxis on runway after landing at Songshan International Airport on November 25.

A U.S. Air Force plane carrying a delegation to Taiwan arrives at Songshan International Airport in Taipei on Thursday. Photo by Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The leader of a U.S. congressional delegation to Taiwan declared during a meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen on Friday that the self-governing island was a "force for good," per Reuters.

Why it matters: The group arrived in Taipei on Thursday despite pressure from Beijing to call off the visit, according to two of the five lawmakers on the trip. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) tweeted that the message she received from the Chinese Embassy was "blunt."

  • Six Republican lawmakers who visited Taiwan earlier this month to meet with Tsai and other Taipei officials faced similar calls from Beijing's embassy in Washington, per Foreign Policy.
  • Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.), the House Veterans' Affairs chair, and leader of the delegation to Taiwan, praised Taiwan to Tsai as a "democratic success story, a reliable partner and a force for good in the world," in comments that are sure to further anger Beijing, per Reuters.
"Under [Tsai's] administration, the bonds between us are more positive and productive than they have been for decades. Our commitment to Taiwan is rock solid and has remained steadfast as the ties between us have deepened. Taiwan is a democratic success story, a reliable partner and a force for good in the world."
— Rep. Takano

The big picture: Takano, Slotkin and Reps. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), Colin Allred (D-Texas) and Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.) were in Taiwan to discuss matters including regional security, U.S.-Taiwan relations "and other significant issues of mutual interest" with Taipei officials, per a statement from the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto embassy.

  • Slotkin tweeted Thursday, "The auto industry’s largest supplier of microchips is here in Taiwan, so supply chain issues will most definitely be on the agenda."

Background: The Chinese government has in recent months escalated military and political pressure in its claims over the island, which separated from China in 1949 amid civil war.

Go deeper: Taiwan among 110 participants invited to Biden's "Summit for Democracy"

Editor's note: This article has been updated to include details of the meeting with Tsai Ing-wen.

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