US Congressional Delegation Meets With Taiwan’s President-Elect

The US also sailed a warship through the Taiwan Strait, which China denounced as a provocation

A US congressional delegation visited Taiwan Thursday to affirm bipartisan support for the first time since the island held presidential elections earlier this month.

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA), co-chairs of the congressional Taiwan Caucus, met with Taiwanese President-elect Lai Ching-te, who is currently the vice president and a member of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Taiwan’s current president, Tsai Ing-wen, oversaw eight years of a significant escalation in tensions with mainland China as her government forged stronger military and diplomatic ties with the US. More of the same is expected when Lai is inaugurated in May, although the opposition party Kuomintang, which seeks to ease tensions with Beijing, won the most seats in the Legislative Yuan.

Lai took aim at China in comments he made while meeting with Diaz-Balart and Bera. “Taiwan is situated in the first island chain and stands on the frontline of China’s authoritarian expansionism. This makes Taiwan a crucial strategic location. Stability across the Taiwan Strait is extremely important to regional and global peace and prosperity,” he said.

“I hope the United States can continue to firmly support Taiwan, deepen bilateral cooperation and relations and work with other democratic partners to ensure peace and prosperity in the region,” Lai added.

Laid also called for more military support from the US, which began providing unprecedented military aid to Taiwan for the first time in 2023. “I also hope that the two co-chairs and our friends in the US Congress can continue to support Taiwan in bolstering its self-defense capabilities,” Lai said.

Diaz-Balart told Lai that there is “100%” bipartisan support for Taiwan in Congress. “Rest assured that you have the support of the United States Congress,” he said.

Congressional visits anger China since Beijing opposes all official contacts between US and Taiwanese officials. This was demonstrated by China launching its largest-ever military drills around Taiwan in August 2022 in response to then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) visiting the island.

Beijing views the engagement as a violation of the one-China policy the US and China established when they normalized relations, and Washington severed diplomatic ties with Taipei in 1979.

A day before Lai met with the visiting US lawmakers, the US sailed a warship through the Taiwan Strait. The Chinese military said it monitored the US Navy destroyer USS John Finn while it made the provocative transit.

“Recently, the US military has frequently carried out provocative actions and maliciously undermined regional peace and stability,” said Chinese military spokesman Senior Col. Shi Yi. “Troops in the theatre remain on high alert at all times and resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and security as well as regional peace and stability.”

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.