May 27, 2024 - World

U.S. "moving forward" with weapons for Taiwan, Rep. McCaul says

Rep. Michael McCaul and Taiwan’s President Lai Ching-te, dressed in a cowboy hat, in Taipei.

Rep. Michael McCaul and Taiwan's President Lai Ching-te, dressed in a cowboy hat, a gift from the Republican congressman, during their meeting inside the presidential office building in Taipei on Monday. Photo: Taiwanese presidential office/President Lai Ching-te via X

A U.S. congressional delegation met with Taiwan's new president on Monday and promised weapons the self-governing island ordered in the face of threats from China were on their way.

Why it matters: The visit, led by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Michael McCaul (R-Tex.), comes days after the Chinese military held drills around the democratically run island it claims is its territory in protest at the inauguration of Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te.

State of play: Congress passed an aid package last month that included around $2 billion in support of the Taiwanese military and other U.S. allies in the Pacific.

  • McCaul emphasized the importance of supplying Taiwan during a news conference in Taipei after meeting with Lai.
  • "We are moving forward on those weapons systems," he said. "I'd like to see them faster, but they are forthcoming."

The big picture: U.S. lawmakers' visits to Taipei typically raise the ire of Beijing, which sees any move that appears to treat Taiwan as an independent country as an affront.

Zoom in: Other members of the bipartisan delegation to Taiwan included Reps. Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.), Young Kim (R-Calif.), Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.), and Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.).

  • During their trip, the delegation met with Taiwanese authorities to discuss regional security, trade and investment to explore new areas of collaboration between the U.S. and Taiwan, according to a statement from McCaul's office.

Go deeper: All roads lead to Taipei

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