US Congressional Delegation Led by House’s Top China Hawk Visits Taiwan

In response, China said it rejects 'official interaction between the US and Taiwan authorities'

A congressional delegation led by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), the chair of the House’s China committee, arrived in Taiwan on Thursday to show bipartisan support for Lai Ching-te, Taiwan’s vice president, who won elections in January and will be sworn in as president in May.

After arriving in Taiwan, Gallagher took a shot at China in a statement released by the House’s China committee, formally known as the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party.

“Time and again Taiwan has shown the world how to stand up to the CCP’s bullying and not only survive, but thrive,” Gallagher said. “We are thrilled to be in Taipei to show our support for our friends in Taiwan, President-Elect Lai and the newly elected Legislative Yuan. The United States stands with Taiwan.”

Gallagher and his delegation will be in Taiwan from February 22-24. They met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Thursday, who thanked the US lawmakers for issuing statements congratulating Lai on his victory in January. Both Tsai and Lai are members of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which is independence-leaning and wants stronger ties with the West.

China is strongly opposed to any contacts between US and Taiwanese officials, which the Chinese Foreign Ministry reaffirmed when asked about Gallagher’s visit. “Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. China opposes any form of official interaction between the US and Taiwan authorities and rejects US interference in Taiwan affairs in whatever form or under whatever pretext,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning.

Lai has been denounced by Beijing as a “dangerous separatist” and is expected to continue moving Taiwan closer to the US, following the pattern of Tsai’s eight years in office. However, a member of the opposition Kuomintang party, which seeks to ease tensions with the mainland, won the speakership in Taiwan’s legislative Yuan, making it harder for the DPP to get legislation made into law.

During his time as the head of the China committee, which was formed last year, Gallagher has urged the US to “arm Taiwan to the teeth” and increase diplomatic backing for Taiwan. Like other China hawks, he frames these steps as deterrence, but the increase in US support has only escalated tensions in the region, making conflict more likely.

Author: Dave DeCamp

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