US stirs up tensions with China as lawmakers defy Beijing threats with Taiwan visit

Michigan Rep. Elissa Slotkin; Rep Mark Takano, a California Democrat; Sara Jacobs, another Democrat from California; Colin Allred, a Texas Democrat and Nancy Mace, a Republican from South Caroline were quickly condemned for their visit. China has been ramping up threats against Taiwan, which Beijing has always considered to be part of the People’s Republic. NBC News’ Josh Lederman said: “A big part of this is to show there’s bipartisan US support for Taiwan given the escalating tensions with China and the increasing effort by China to try to exert its own control and authority over Taiwan.

We’ve seen these increasing military flights near Taiwan that really alarmed US national security officials.

“But there’s also an economic component to this. We’ve heard from Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin saying on Twitter during the trip that the ‘auto industry’s largest supplier of microchip is here in Taiwan, so supply chain issues will most definitely be on the agenda.’

“She said she too received that message from the Chinese Embassy telling her to call off the trip.”

He continued: “So far in Taiwan, this trip has been received very warmly with the Taiwanese president saying, ‘it’s a pleasure to welcome our US friends to Taiwan.’ 

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The five members of the US House of Representatives arrived in Taiwan on Thursday night for a previously unannounced two-day trip, the second time in a month US lawmakers have visited.

As with the last visit, China’s military announced the patrols in the vicinity of the narrow and sensitive Taiwan Strait that separates the island from its giant neighbour.

The People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theatre Command said that on Friday it “organised naval and air forces to continue combat readiness police patrols in direction of the Taiwan Strait”.

“The relevant actions are necessary to deal with the current situation in the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan is part of China’s territory, and defending national sovereignty and territorial integrity is our military’s sacred mission.”

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