TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A surprise visit by six U.S. lawmakers ended Thursday night (Nov. 11) after boarding a civilian flight to Dubai.
On Tuesday evening, news broke that a U.S. Navy C-40A carrying senators and congressmen had taken off from Clark Air Base in the Philippines and landed at Taipei Songshan Airport. Both Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and the Office of the President confirmed that American lawmakers were on board.
The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) did not provide any specifics to the media about the trip other than referring reporters to Senator John Cornyn's office, indicating he was among the lawmakers touring the East Asian nation. According to local media reports, the delegation included Senators John Cornyn, Tommy Tuberville, Mike Crapo, and Mike Lee, as well as Representative Jake Ellzey and a second representative who was never identified.
Earlier on Wednesday morning (Nov. 10), the delegation reportedly met with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), although no announcements were made by the Office of the President on the visit. At 2:30 p.m. that afternoon, the congressmen were taken to the Ministry of National Defense (MND) in Taipei's Dazhi area.
According to local media, the congressmen were briefed by MND officials on the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) intimidation of Taiwan. Defense ministry officials did not brief media about the visit.
Minibus takes congressmen to MND. (CNA photo)
On Thursday morning (Nov. 11), the senators and representatives were transported to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) headquarters at Hsinchu Science Park. After being transported from their Taipei hotel to Hsinchu the congressmen were seen shaking hands with senior TSMC executives before entering the head office.
It was thought the congressmen discussed the ongoing chip shortage affecting everything from the U.S.' auto industry to its most sophisticated fighter jets. According to TVBS, the delegation departed from TSMC at 1 p.m. and headed to the Hsinchu Confucius Temple, where they met with Hsinchu Mayor Lin Chih-chien (林智堅).
Delegation visits Hsinchu Confucius Temple. (CNA photo)
At about 5:30 p.m. the six lawmakers arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, where they headed to the VIP waiting room, reported CNA. They headed to Gate D1 at 6:50 p.m.
The delegation did not make any statements to the media, but some members were seen waving to reporters. They boarded the Dubai-bound Emirates Flight EK-367, which took off at 7:20 p.m., thus ending their three-day visit to Taiwan.
Delegation arrives at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. (CNA photo)
This is the second visit to Taiwan by standing members of Congress, with the previous trip on June 6, when Senators Tammy Duckworth, Dan Sullivan, and Christoper Coons made a brief stopover in Taipei. In April, former U.S. Senator Chris Dodd and former Deputy Secretaries of State Richard Armitage and James Steinberg made an unofficial visit to Taiwan at the request of U.S. President Joe Biden.