Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) visited Taiwan on Friday and met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen as Beijing delivered warnings against Washington’s growing ties with Taipei.
Tsai thanked Scott for twice introducing the Taiwan Invasion Prevention Act, a bill that would give President Biden war powers to intervene if China attacks Taiwan. Scott introduced the legislation in 2020 and 2021, but it received little support in the Senate.
The Taiwan Invasion Prevention Act was also introduced in the House last year, where it gained eight Republican cosponsors. Authorizing the president to go to war with China if it invades Taiwan is currently only favored by the most hawkish members of Congress, including Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA), who has repeatedly called for such legislation.
China often responds to US delegations visiting Taiwan by stepping up military activity near the island, and Chinese fighter jets crossed the median line that separates two sides of the Taiwan Strait on Friday. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the exercises were done in “response to foreign interference and the ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces.”
According to Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry, Scott arrived on the island on Thursday and was due to leave on Saturday. His visit coincided with a conversation between Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and his Chinese counterpart, Gen. Li Zuocheng.
During the call, Li called for Washington to cease “US-Taiwan military collusion.” In recent years, the US has stepped up its informal ties with Taipei, including by stepping up support for the island’s military. Scott said that he wants to see Taiwan join the US-led Rim of the Pacific exercises, which is billed as the largest international maritime drill.
Li also warned that China would respond to any “wanton provocation” with a “firm counterattack” but also called for more cooperation between the US and China. He said Beijing hoped to “further strengthen dialogue, handle risks, and promote cooperation, rather than deliberately creating confrontation, provoking incidents and becoming mutually exclusive.”