Duckworth pays three-day visit to Taiwan amid China tension

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Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) landed in Taipei on Monday for a three-day visit to meet top officials about issues affecting the U.S.-Taiwan relationship.

The Taiwan Foreign Ministry revealed the previously unannounced visit in a tweet on Monday.

“We thank our country’s good friend for the rock-solid support & wish her a productive 3-day visit aimed at deepening understanding on various issues at the heart of [Taiwan-US] ties,” the ministry wrote.

The delegation will meet with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen on Tuesday, as well as Premier Su Tseng-chang and Economic Affairs Minister Wang Mei-hua before departing on Wednesday, CNN reported.

The Hill has reached out to Duckworth’s office for comment.

Duckworth most recently visited Taiwan with Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) last June to announce that the U.S. was sending Taiwan 750,000 coronavirus vaccine doses. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) led a two-day visit to Taiwan alongside five other U.S. lawmakers in April.

During her trip last year, Duckworth told Nikkei in an interview that “America will not abandon Taiwan” and “we will show up, and not let them face trials and tribulations alone.”

President Biden made his first trip to Asia as president earlier this month, unveiling a new economic framework aiming to boost U.S. leadership in the region while countering China’s rise.

Taiwan was not among the group in the framework, despite bipartisan calls from lawmakers that the island nation be included. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the U.S. would pursue deeper economic ties with Taiwan on a “bilateral basis.”

Under the “One China” policy, the U.S. does not recognize Taiwan as a separate state from China. But Washington has committed to providing Taiwan with arms for its defense as part of its policy of “strategic ambiguity” on its involvement if China were to invade the island.

Biden stoked U.S.-China tensions during the trip, when he said the U.S. would defend Taiwan militarily if China invaded. The White House quickly walked back Biden’s comments, saying that he wasn’t announcing a policy change.

Two days later, China announced that it conducted military drills near Taiwan, the latest Chinese provocation toward the island nation. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has further sparked concerns that Beijing might be learning lessons for its own incursion into Taiwan.

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