US lawmakers support Taiwan after China's military exercises

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale - Senior Editor
5 Min Read

A delegation of US lawmakers has expressed support for Taiwan in the wake of China's large-scale military exercises in the region around Taiwan, Focus Taiwan reports.

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US House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, who is leading a bipartisan congressional delegation to meet with Taiwan's new President Lai Ching-te, said China's “intimidating military exercises” show the mainland “is not interested in annexing Taiwan by peaceful means.”

Addressing a press conference in Taipei, US Representative Michael McCaul called the exercises an “intimidation tactic to punish democracy” and vowed to bolster Taiwan's defence by accelerating the delivery of defensive weapons from the US, reports CNN.

He reiterated Washington's long-term support for Taiwan and stressed that the US would remain Taiwan's “trusted partner.”

The Republican lawmaker highlighted that following the swearing-in of Taiwan's new president last Monday, China conducted a round of military exercises in response.

“Chinese forces conducted intimidating military exercises, sending 110 aircraft and 46 warships to show they have no interest in taking over Taiwan through peaceful means,” he said.

He called on all democracies to “stand together against aggression and tyranny,” whether it be tyrant Russian President Vladimir Putin or Chinese President Xi Jinping, reports Focus Taiwan.

McCaul outlined the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), which has served as the cornerstone for informal US-Taiwan relations since diplomatic ties were severed in 1979, which requires Washington to help Taiwan defend itself by providing weapons systems of a defensive nature.

“We must ensure that no right-thinking person attempts to disrupt the peace in which you have thrived. The United States is and will always be your trusted partner, and no amount of pressure or intimidation will slow or prevent regular visits by Congress to Taiwan,” he said.

Taiwanese President Lai expressed his gratitude to McCaul, his delegation, and the US Congress as a whole for their long-term support to the island nation.

The President stressed that his new administration will continue to deepen cooperation with the United States and other like-minded countries to maintain regional peace, stability and prosperous development.

“Moving forward, my administration will continue to enhance national defense, and show the world the determination of the Taiwanese people to defend their home,” he said.

Highlighting the current backlog of weapons orders, McCaul said that about $20 billion in Taiwan's weapons orders from the US are delayed mainly due to issues related to the defense industrial base, reports Focus Taiwan.

He said the recently concluded Chinese exercises to encircle Taiwan after Lai's swearing-in on May 20 have reminded the world of the “very dangerous situation” in the Taiwan Strait.

“And that's why deterrence is so important. I know every member here (of Congress) will carry that message back (to accelerate our country's supply of military weapons to Taiwan),” he said.

However, according to Focus Taiwan's report, before the backlog issue, McCaul said US President Joe Biden had signed off on US$4 billion in grants and foreign military financing loans to Taiwan in past months as a sign of support.

Stressing on what kind of weapons Taiwan needs most from the US to strengthen its defence, McCaul said land-based weapons are needed to prevent People's Liberation Army (PLA) troops from landing in Taiwan. Maritime wealth is more important than resources.

The US delegation, which included McCaul, Republicans Young Kim, Joe Wilson and Andy Barr and Democrats Jimmy Panetta and Chrissy Houlahan, arrived in Taipei late Sunday.

In addition, according to the ministry, McCaul is also expected to meet with Taiwan's Vice President Hsiao Bi-khim and other members of Lai's new foreign affairs and national security team to exchange views on issues of mutual concern, regional security and Taiwan-US relations.

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