Taiwan reveals secret US congressman visit

Beijing, Feb 23 (EFE).- American Congressman Mike Gallagher, who chairs a new committee on China in the United States Congress, was in Taiwan last week and met with the island’s President Tsai Ing-wen, local media reported Thursday.

Kolas Yotaka, Presidential Office spokeswoman, confirmed Gallaguer, a Republican from Wisconsin, visited the self-governing territory from Friday to Monday and met both with Tsai and Vice President Lai Ching-te, state Taiwanese news agency CNA said.

Taiwan’s confirmation of the visit comes after the US congressman revealed details about it in an interview with The Washington Post, to which he said that he had wanted to keep his visit to the island a secret.

According to Yotaka, the US representative and the Taiwanese leadership pledged to work together to safeguard democracy, freedom and peace.

The lawmaker was named chairman of a bipartisan congressional committee called the Committee on Strategic Competition Between the US and the Communist Party of China in December.

During his stay in Taipei, Gallagher also met with the island’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu and business representatives, the Taiwanese Foreign Ministry said.

Gallagher told the Post he kept the trip a secret due to China’s response in August to then-US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi through Taiwan.

The visit angered China and triggered tensions between Washington and Beijing, who described the trip as a “farce” and “deplorable betrayal.”

China responded to the trip with sanctions on Pelosi and the suspension of dialog with the US in several important areas, in addition to deploying military maneuvers in the Taiwan Strait of an intensity unprecedented in decades.

Before Pelosi’s visit, numerous delegations of US legislators had already passed through the self-governing territory, trips that continued to take place even after the bilateral crisis on account of the stay of the Democratic politician in Taipei.

Subsequently, legislators and representatives of several European countries, including France, Spain and Switzerland, have also passed through the island.

China claims sovereignty over the island, which it views as a rebel province since Kuomintang nationalists withdrew there in 1949 after losing the civil war against the communists. EFE


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