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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."

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
  • 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.

Go deeper

Nov 26, 2021 - World

Solomon Islands leader blames foreign interference for unrest

Burnt-out buildings in Honiara's Chinatown on Friday, after two days of rioting around the district. Photo: Charley Piringi/AFP via Getty Images

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Friday "foreign powers" were to blame for days of unrest in the South Pacific nation.

Why it matters: His government's decision to change alliances from Taiwan to China sparked a wave of anger and massive protests and riots in the capital, Honiara, this week — which resulted in Sogavare declaring a lockdown and calling in Australian police, who swept in to take control of the city Friday, per Reuters.

2 hours ago - Health

WHO: Not yet known whether Omicron leads to more severe disease

Photo illustration: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The World Health Organization on Sunday said that it is not yet clear whether the newly discovered Omicron variant is more transmissible than other strains of the COVID-19 virus.

Why it matters: The agency's statement comes as the variant, discovered in South Africa, has already been detected in European and Asian countries.

7 hours ago - Health

Fauci: Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in U.S.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cautioned on Sunday that the COVID-19 Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in the United States.

Driving the news: Fauci, Biden's chief medical adviser, told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" that U.S. officials will meet with colleagues from South Africa later on Sunday to try to determine the severity of the cases, as countries scramble to learn more about the variant.

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