US Senator Duckworth in Taiwan for a 3-day visit

Beijing, May 31 (EFE).- US Senator Tammy Duckworth is in Taiwan for a three-day visit to meet President Tsai Ing-wen in the first trip by an American official after President Joe Biden vowed to intervene militarily to protect the island in case of a China attack.

The parliamentarian landed at the local Taoyuan airport on a commercial flight on Monday night and was received by Vice Foreign Minister Harry Tseng, the Taiwanese Foreign Ministry said.

Duckworth will also meet with Premier Su Tseng-chang, Economy Minister Wang Mei-hua, and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu.

Among the issues to be discussed are regional security, trade and investment, and global supply chains, said the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto US embassy on the island.

Duckworth, whose visit is part of a larger Indo-Pacific tour, visited Taiwan for a day in June last year with Senators Dan Sullivan and Chris Coons.

Lawmakers then announced that the US would donate 750,000 doses of a Covid-19 vaccine to Taiwan when the island ran out of jabs amid a spike in coronavirus cases.

Several delegations of the US Congress and senators have visited the autonomously-governed island in the last year.

The island was the refuge of the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) forces after losing the civil war with the Communists, who, since then, have claimed sovereignty over the territory.

In 1979, Washington broke its official diplomatic ties with Taipei in favor of Beijing. However, the American Institute in Taiwan operates as a de facto embassy in Taipei.

The island is also one of the primary sources of the conflict between China and the US, mainly because Washington is Taiwan’s biggest arms supplier.

President Biden, on May 23, said the US military would intervene if China tried to annex Taiwan forcibly, drawing a sharp reaction from Beijing.

Biden warned the Chinese “are already flirting with danger right now by flying so close and all the maneuvers that are undertaken.”

It was the first in recent times that a US president has so explicitly talked about a possible US military intervention if China were to invade Taiwan.

China said the US was “playing with fire” by supporting “Taiwan independence separatist forces.”

Chinese State Council’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesperson Zhu Fenglian said Washington was “using the ‘Taiwan card’ to contain China, and will itself get burned.”

She urged the US “to stop any remarks or actions” that violate principles of ties between the two countries. EFE


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