Five members of the U.S. Congress travel to Taiwan for a surprise one-day visit

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TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) – Five U.S. lawmakers meet in Taiwan on Friday for a surprise one-day visit, the Taiwanese de facto embassy said.

Legislators from the U.S. House of Representatives arrived in Taiwan Thursday night and will meet with senior island leaders. No further details were provided about his itinerary.

The visit comes as tensions between Taiwan and China have risen to their highest level in decades. Taiwan has been self-governing since the two sides split during a civil war in 1949, but China considers the island part of its own territory.

“I just touched down in the Republic of Taiwan,” MP Nancy Mace tweeted Thursday night, using the island’s unofficial name.

House Democrats Mark Takano of California, Elissa Slotkin of Michigan, Colin Allred of Texas and Sara Jacobs of California, along with Mace, a Republican from South Carolina, are part of the visiting delegation.

The trip comes just weeks after a group of six Republican lawmakers visited the island. This congressional delegation met with President Tsai Ing-wen, Secretary of Homeland Security Wellington Koo and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, among others.

It is the third visit by U.S. lawmakers this year. In June, three members of Congress flew to Taiwan to give much-needed vaccines at a time when the island was struggling to get enough.

The Biden administration has also invited Taiwan to a summit for democracy next month, a move that sparked strong disapproval from China.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Wednesday: “What the US did shows that so-called democracy is just a pretext and a tool to pursue geopolitical goals, suppress other countries, divide the world, serve their own interests and maintain their own interest. hegemony in the world ”.

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