A United States bipartisan congressional delegation led by House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs chair Mark Takano arrived in Taiwan last night aboard a C-40 Clipper military transport plane.
According to a press release issued by the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, other members of the delegation include representatives Nancy Mace, Colin Allred, Elissa Slotkin, and Sara Jacobs.
The two-day visit is "part of a larger visit to the Indo-Pacific region," said the American Institute in Taiwan in a press release last night, adding the delegation "will meet with senior Taiwan leaders to discuss US-Taiwan relations, regional security, and other significant issues of mutual interest."
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) welcomed the visit, which marked the second US congressional delegation visit to the country this month.
In other news, about 10 parliamentarians from Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia are to visit Taipei for a government-led forum early next month, while also meeting with top government officials, MOFA said in a statement on Wednesday.
The planned visit comes at a time when Taiwan is having more EU exchanges and when ties are warming with the bloc’s member states, especially Lithuania.
Last week, Taiwan opened a representative office in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, as part of an August deal that is also to see Lithuania open a representative office in Taipei early next year.
The Baltic delegation is to be led by Matas Maldeikis, a member of the Seimas, or Lithuania’s unicameral parliament, and an outspoken critic of what he described in an article in The Atlantic magazine as the “Chinese Communist Party’s espionage, interference in Europe’s political affairs and coercive behavior.”
Since the opening of Taiwan’s representative office, Beijing has taken punitive action against Lithuania by downgrading their diplomatic ties and posting a charge d’affaires, not an ambassador, to Vilnius.
Support from lawmakers for Taiwan’s attempts to counter Chinese aggression has gained traction in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, in part because of the Baltic states’ historic struggle gaining independence from the former Soviet Union.
Maldeikis told The Atlantic: “The human rights situation in China and growing control under [Chinese President] Xi Jinping [習近平] is very negatively seen by many in our society, which still remembers similar persecutions under Soviet rule in our own country.”
He wrote on Twitter: “Lithuania doesn’t get down on her knees for communists.”
In Taipei, ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said that the visitors would stay in Taiwan for more than two days, without giving details about their itinerary.
Taiwan’s relations with European countries have warmed, and Taiwan friendship groups in Baltic countries have repeatedly backed Taiwan’s bid to participate in the international community, she said.
The government would continue to work with parliaments in the Baltic region in a bid to combat the expansionism of authoritarian regimes and to defend the universal values of democracy, freedom, the rule of law and human rights, Ou said.
Additional reporting by Lin Chia-nan
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