Washington — The leader of the House Foreign Affairs Committee is leading a bipartisan delegation of House members to Taiwan, a visit that comes on the heels of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s meeting with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen in California.
The delegation of lawmakers led by Chairman Michael McCaul, a Republican from Texas, arrived in Taipei on Thursday afternoon local time. During their trip, the House members plan to meet with Taiwanese business leaders and senior government officials “to discuss ways the U.S. can strengthen our economic and defense relationship with Taiwan in the face of growing threats in the region,” according to McCaul’s office.
The members traveling to Taiwan with McCaul include: Republican Reps. Young Kim of California, French Hill of Arkansas, Guy Reschenthaler of Pennsylvania, Michael Lawler of New York, and Nathaniel Moran of Texas, as well as Democratic Reps. Ami Bera of California and Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania.
Their trip comes hours after McCarthy and a bipartisan group of lawmakers met with Tsai at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California on Wednesday, a meeting that angered China. Their visit came amid tensions between the U.S. and Beijing over the status of Taiwan, which China has considered a breakaway province since 1949, and as China expands its influence around the world.
But the U.S. views Taiwan, which has a population of nearly 24 million people, as a “key U.S. partner” and under the “One China” policy, acknowledges Beijing’s position that Taiwan is part of China. While the U.S. does not have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, the law requires it to provide the island with the military aid to defend itself.
McCarthy is the second speaker to meet with Tsai in a year. Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a high-stakes trip to Taiwan in August, becoming the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the island in 25 years.
Pelosi offered rare praise to McCarthy for his meeting, saying in a statement it “is to be commended for its leadership, its bipartisan participation and its distinguished and historic venue.”