Marsha Blackburn: US senator lands in Taiwan and vows China won’t bully her

Blackburn’s trip, a Tennessee Republican member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, follows a string of recent visits by Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and other US officials.

“Taiwan is our strongest partner in the Indo-Pacific region. Regular high-level visits to Taipei are a longstanding US policy,” Blackburn said in a statement Thursday.

Pelosi’s visit, which earlier this month became the highest-ranking U.S. official to land on the island in 25 years, was cited by Beijing as the trigger for several days of large-scale military exercises in which China fired missiles over Taiwan and sent several warplanes into the identification zone. air defense.

The ruling Communist Party of China maintains that Taiwan is part of its territory despite never ruling it, and refuses to rule out the use of force to control it.

The US does not have official diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but is legally required to provide the island with defensive weapons and is deliberately ambiguous about whether it would intervene militarily if attacked by China.

In a tweet Friday morning, the US senator, not representing the Biden administration, reiterated her support for Taiwan.

“I will never submit to the Chinese Communist Party,” she said in one. “I will continue to support (the Taiwanese) and their right to freedom and democracy. Xi Jinping does not scare me,” she later added, referring to the Chinese leader.

In a meeting with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Friday morning, Blackburn emphasized the values ​​of democracy and freedom that she said Washington shares with Taiwan.

“It’s really important that freedom-loving countries support Taiwan as they seek to maintain their independence and freedom,” Blackburn said.

Tsai said recent visits by US public figures “strengthened Taiwan’s determination to defend itself.”

“We look forward to continuing to help and support Taiwan as it moves forward as an independent nation,” Blackburn said.

As part of the long-standing “One China” policy, the US recognizes Beijing’s position that Taiwan is part of China, but has never formally recognized the Communist Party’s claim to a self-governing island of 23 million people.

The U.S. senator will also meet with Secretary General of the National Security Council Wellington Koo and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu during his three-day visit, Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

China did not immediately comment on Blackburn’s visit, but expressed its dissatisfaction after Pelosi’s visit with both military exercises and claims that the actions of US politicians and government police threatened the status quo across the Taiwan Strait.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry condemned Pelosi for what it called her “vicious and provocative actions,” saying her trip to Taiwan amounted to “serious interference in China’s internal affairs.”

“Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi insisted on visiting Taiwan despite China’s grave concern and firm opposition, seriously interfering in China’s internal affairs, seriously undermining China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, seriously violating the One China principle, and seriously threatening peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. “, the ministry said in a statement.

Gladys Tsai from Taipei and Alex Stambo from Hong Kong contributed to this report.

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