U.S. Senator Lands in Taiwan Weeks After Nancy Pelosi Visit Sparked Fury

U.S. Senator Ed Markey has issued a statement as he confirmed he is leading a team of representatives in a trip to Taiwan.

This trip comes just weeks after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island, which resulted in condemnation from China.

Accompanying the Democratic Massachusetts Senator is Democrat Representative John Garamendi, Democrat Representative Alan Lowenthal, Democrat Representative Don Beyer and Republican Representative Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen.

The delegation landed on Sunday, August 14 as part of a larger visit to the Indo-Pacific region.

"The delegation will meet with senior Taiwan leaders to discuss U.S.-Taiwan relations, regional security, trade and investment, global supply chains, climate change, and other significant issues of mutual interest," the statement read.

Following Pelosi's trip, the White House reiterated that it will continue to support Taiwan on the international stage.

Kurt Campbell, a top White House aide for the Indo-Pacific, said during a press call Friday that the White House will seek deeper ties with Taiwan in the face of what he called China's potentially destabilizing nearby military activity.

Following the announcement of Pelosi's trip, China conducted a series of military drills near the Taiwan Strait.

The Taiwanese Defense Ministry reported a record number of Chinese aircraft and naval vessels in its surrounding sea and airspace with military jets flying more than 300 sorties around the island.

"China has overreacted, and its actions continue to be provocative, destabilizing and unprecedented," Campbell said on Friday.

He added: "China launched missiles into the waters around Taiwan. It declared exclusion zones around Taiwan that disrupted civilian, air and maritime traffic."

Following the visit, Pelosi was hit with sanctions by China, as were her family members.

On August 5, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced sanctions against Pelosi and her immediate family for what it called an "egregious provocation," although what exactly the measures would entail was not immediately clear.

However, the House Speaker appeared to be unconcerned about the actions by China.

"Who cares?" the California lawmaker said at a press conference about her delegation's wider trip across Asia.

"We didn't go there to talk about China. We went there to praise Taiwan. And we went there to show our friendship, to say 'China cannot isolate Taiwan.' So that's what it was about. That is incidental to me, of no relevance whatsoever."

Despite President Joe Biden's personal assurances to Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, Beijing continues to argue that the U.S. is quietly upgrading its unofficial ties with Taiwan, in the process undermining over four decades of commitments fundamental to the formal U.S.-China relationship.

With neither the U.S. nor China willing—or able—to show a conciliatory attitude on their respective interests in Taiwan, observers fear prolonged and heightened tensions across the Taiwan Strait.

Taiwan
Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) speaks during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on April 26, 2022 in Washington, DC. U.S. Senator Ed Markey has issued a statement as he confirms that he is leading a team of representatives in a trip to Taiwan. Al Drago/Getty