U.S. bipartisan delegation arrives in Taiwan in sign of deepening relations

Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., led a bipartisan delegation to Taiwan on Thursday. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI
Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., led a bipartisan delegation to Taiwan on Thursday. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 21 (UPI) -- Rep. Mike Gallagher, chairman of the House select committee on China, is leading a bipartisan delegation to Taiwan as the United States continues to deepen its relationship with the self-governing island amid growing competition with Beijing.

The delegation arrived in Taiwan at about 5:30 a.m. local time Thursday and met with President Tsai Ing-wen and other officials of her administration at the Presidential Office Building in Taipei.


"Today, we've come as Democrats and Republicans to show our bipartisan support for this partnership, which thanks to your leadership I think is stronger and more rock-solid than ever," Gallagher, R-Wis. said during the joint press conference.

It is the first trip to Taiwan by the House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party and follows Tsai's visit to the United States last year.


In December, the House committee also adopted a strategy of 150 policies it said would reset the United States's economic and technological competition with China.

In her remarks to the delegation, Tsai thanked the Biden administration and Congress for continuing to assist Taiwan in strengthening its self-defense capabilities through the National Self-Defense Authorization Act.

"Together, we are safeguarding freedom and democracy and maintaining regional peace," she said.

"The Taiwan of today plays a crucial role in upholding global peace and democracy. We will continue to advance our international partnerships and engage in the world."

She also said the arrival of the delegations demonstrates "staunch U.S. support, for Taiwan's democracy through concrete actions."

Concerning the strategy the committee adopted late last year, she called for the United States to, in particular, pass the U.S.-Taiwan Expedited Double-Tax Relief Act, stating it will create more profitable avenues for both their businesses while building "a mutually beneficial trade and economic environment."

The delegation -- which also includes ranking member Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., and Reps. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., and South Moulton, D-Mass. -- is to visit Taiwan from Thursday to Saturday during which they are expected to meet with senior Taiwan leaders and members of the local civil society to discuss deepening relations in regional security, trade and investment, the committee said in a statement.


Taiwan's foreign ministry said in its own statement that the delegation will also be treated to a banquet from Foreign Minister Wu Zhaoxie where they will "exchange views on important issues."

China has yet to comment on the visit, but has previously denounced such visits to the island which it views as a rogue province and has vowed to use force if necessary to bring it back under its sovereignty.

When then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., visited in August of 2022, China held mass military drills in response.

The delegation's visit coincided with the United States' approval of a $75 million arms sale with Taiwan. The sale involves a Taiwan Advanced Tactical Data Link System Upgrade Planning and related equipment

In a statement, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said the sale "serves U.S. national, economic and security interests" while improving Taiwan's "ability to meet current and future threats by enhancing communications and network security and providing infrastructure to allow the secure flow of tactical information."

"This marks the 13th deal announced by the Biden administration, showcasing its steadfast commitment to our defense needs & deterrence capabilities," Taipei's foreign ministry said on X.

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