(John Ransom, Headline USA) A high-level delegation of federal legislators arrived in Taiwan to meet Taiwanese President Tsai and lend a bipartisan aspect to America’s support of that country as an independent nation.
“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has proven that democracies must bolster their alliances and collectively we can defend ourselves from the threats posed by authoritarian nations that seek to disrupt regional peace,” said Tsai during the Congressional audience, according to the Associated Press.
BREAKING: China to hold large-scale navy drill around Taiwan while US delegation is on the island
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) April 15, 2022
Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Rob Portman of Ohio, Republican Texas Rep. Ronny Jackson, and Democrat New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, who visited the island might not have a lot of heft with conservative GOP voters, but for the Chinese communists leaders, it’s no longer business as usual.
Menendez, for example, may be scandal-plagued in the United States but to the Chinese, he’s the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and recently introduced a major piece of legislation that would help recognize Taiwan’s independence from China.
“Menendez was among a group of lawmakers who introduced a bill in February to rename Taipei’s de facto embassy in Washington the ‘Taiwan Representative Office,’” said France 24.
It may seem like a small change, but it’s one of the biggest foreign policy changes regarding China since détente was ushered in almost 50 years ago.
China traditionally doesn’t recognize “Taiwan” but calls the island “Taipei,” and says it’s part of the Chinese communist state.
“It is a country of global significance, of global consequence, of global impact, and therefore it should be understood the security of Taiwan has a global impact for those who would wish it ill,” said Menendez, in a speech at Taiwan’s Presidential Office.
It’s a statement that the Democrat head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee likely coordinated with the White House.
That’s how China saw it, anyway, judging by their reaction.
China’s People’s Liberation Army took advantage of the US Congressional visit to stage large military drills around the Straits of Taiwan, to demonstrate their ability to sink American aircraft carriers that would wish to intercede in any conflict between China and Taiwan.
The operations included Chinese frigates, bombers, and China’s latest copy-cat Stealth fighter, the J20, reported the Daily Mail.
“This operation is in response to the recent frequent release of wrong signals by the United States on the Taiwan issue,” People’s Liberation Army Eastern Theater Command spokesman Shi Yilu said, without mentioning the visiting U.S. lawmakers.
“The U.S. bad actions and tricks are completely futile and very dangerous. Those who play with fire will burn themselves,” Shi Yilu said.
Adding emphasis to the Congressional visit was a visit by a Swedish legislative delegation, which echoed the comments of the US Congressional delegation.
Sweden is a non-aligned nation, is not a member of NATO and isn’t even a member of the European Union.
“The purpose of the visit is very clear,” Swedish lawmaker Charlie Weimers told reporters on Thursday, according to France 24.
“It is to send a signal of support from Europe to Taiwan. And to make sure that signal is being heard all across the Taiwan Strait.”