Another US congressional delegation arrived in Taiwan on Wednesday as the parade of US officials visiting the island continues despite warnings and unprecedented military exercises from Beijing.
The delegation consists of a bipartisan group of House lawmakers that is being led by Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL). The visit is the sixth time a US delegation traveled to the island since the beginning of August when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) made the trip.
Murphy is joined in Taiwan by fellow Democrat Rep. Kaiali’i Kahele (HI) and Republican Reps. Scott Franklin (FL), Kat Cammack (FL), Joe Wilson (SC), Andy Barr (KY), Darrell Issa (CA), and Claudia Tenney (NY).
According to The South China Morning Post, unlike the previous US delegations, Murphy’s group did not travel to Taiwan on a military plane. They arrived on a commercial flight from South Korea.
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said that the delegation will “will meet with President Tsai Ing-wen; visit William Koo, secretary general of the National Security Council; and have a banquet with Foreign Minister Joseph Wu.”
The delegation is sure to anger Beijing since it views the US visits to Taiwan as Washington moving away from the one-China policy. In response to Pelosi, who was the first House Speaker to visit Taiwan since 1997, China launched its largest-ever military exercises around the island, and Beijing has kept up the military pressure as the US delegations continue.
China previously rarely crossed the median line, an unofficial barrier that separates the Taiwan Strait. But since Pelosi’s visit, that has changed. According to Japan Times, China flew 302 sorties across the median line in August. Between 1954 and August 2020, China flew across the barrier only four times. Between September 2020 and Pelosi’s visit, Chinese warplanes made the flight 23 times.
The uptick in Chinese flights after August 2020 was in response to the Trump administration sending the highest-level cabinet officials to Taiwan since Washington severed diplomatic relations with Taipei in 1979.