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Big US foreign affairs delegation expected in Taiwan next month

More than 50 members of U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee likely to take part in trip

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Gregory Meeks, Chairperson of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, plans to visit Taiwan next month.

Gregory Meeks, Chairperson of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, plans to visit Taiwan next month. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — In another show of sustained support for Taiwan, U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairperson Greg Meeks said he plans to bring a bipartisan delegation of lawmakers to the East Asian country next month.

This, he said, is to reinforce his country’s commitment to Taiwan’s democracy and sovereignty as it faces increasing pressure from China, according to a report by The Hill. “I want to go, and I may go to Taiwan in January,” Meeks said Thursday evening (Dec. 9).

Meek’s plans come as tensions between Taiwan and China rise to new levels. On Friday (Dec. 10), Nicaragua announced it would sever ties with Taiwan and resume diplomatic relations with China, prompting an outpouring of support by U.S. lawmakers for Taiwan.

“The administration and others have made it clear what our position is on Taiwan: We stand with Taiwan,” Meeks said. “We’re already making sure that they have the wherewithal to defend themselves, and we think it would be a big mistake for the PRC (People's Republic of China) to try to go and invade it.”

“We believe that the way they (Taiwan) have existed for all this period of time, based upon the agreements, should remain,” he said.

Meek’s delegation will be the third of its kind in recent months. In November, six Republican lawmakers made a surprise trip to Taiwan and landed on the tarmac of Taipei’s Songshan Airport in a U.S. Navy C-40A transporter aircraft.

Later in the month, a bipartisan group of five lawmakers led by Mark Takano made another stopover. Both groups met with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and other government officials.

Meeks has indicated he also wants to meet Tsai. U.S. lawmakers typically receive personal threats from China in the lead-up to visiting Taiwan. Elissa Slotkin, who joined the Takano delegation, tweeted about how she and others in the group got “strongly worded,” “angry,” and “blunt” messages from the Chinese embassy.

Anticipating a similar response from Beijing, Meeks said he will not be cowed. “I stand up, and I speak out for what I believe, and no one can intimidate me to stop it.”