Washington: Five members of the U.S. House of Representatives are expected to arrive in Taiwan on Friday for a short trip focused on meetings with the island’s defence ministry, Taiwan’s official Central News Agency reported on Thursday.The trip comes as China has stepped up military and political pressure to assert its sovereignty claims over the island, spurring anger in Taipei where the government has vowed to defend Taiwan’s freedom and democracy.
The report said the delegation would be made up of Mark Takano, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and Colin Allred, Elissa Slotkin, Sara Jacobs and Nancy Mace, and would also meet Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen.
Taiwan’s Foreign and Defence Ministries declined to comment. The de facto U.S. embassy in Taipei did not immediately respond to a request for comment.The five lawmakers are currently in East Asia on a Thanksgiving trip to Japan and South Korea.It would be the second trip of lawmakers to Taiwan this month.China’s military conducted a combat readiness patrol in the direction of the Taiwan Strait earlier this month, after its defence ministry condemned a visit to Taiwan by a U.S. congressional delegation it said had arrived on a military aircraft.
The United States like most countries has no official ties with Taiwan but is the democratically-ruled island’s most important international backer and arms supplier, to Beijing’s anger.