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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

Dec 6, 2021 - World

U.S. announces diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

An Olympic-themed sculpture in Beijing on Dec. 1. Photo: Hou Yu/China News Service via Getty Images

The U.S. announced Monday that it will not send officials to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in protest of human rights abuses committed by the Chinese Communist Party.

Why it matters: The diplomatic boycott — which won't prevent American athletes from competing — marks a major escalation between the U.S. and China amid already heightened tensions over the CCP's treatment of Muslim minorities, military threats to Taiwan and economic tariffs.

Kate Marino, author of Markets
55 mins ago - Economy & Business

Omicron outbreaks were bad for business in January

Data: New York Federal Reserve Bank; Chart: Axios Visuals

Emerging anecdotal evidence shows just how hard the recent rise in COVID-19 cases hit businesses in early January — but that hasn't hurt some business leaders’ longer-term views on their companies' prospects.

Why it matters: Increasingly, the economic recovery has come in fits and starts that move in tandem with new peaks in cases. Look no further than the thousands of cancelled flights and shuttered Broadway theaters in the wake of the Omicron variant's spread over the last few months.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
1 hour ago - Health

The shifting definition of fully vaccinated

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The definition of what it means to be "fully vaccinated" is evolving even as the CDC has remained careful not to officially change it.

Why it matters: CDC officials have been balancing the job of convincing Americans who've already gotten two doses of the importance of boosters with getting many Americans who still need their first doses to get their shots at all.

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