Taiwan pm, U.S. lawmakers agree to work together to create free, open region

Taiwan pm, U.S. lawmakers agree to work together to create free, open region

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers agreed on Saturday that they will work together to create a free and open Indo-Pacific region in light of China's growing presence.

In the meeting in Tokyo, the U.S. lawmakers told Kishida that there is a bipartisan understanding in the United States of the importance of the Japan-U. Through their latest visit, S. alliance hopes to deepen understanding of Japan's roles in the region.

Kishida told the U.S. lawmakers, including Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican, and Sen. Bob Menendez, a Democrat, that it is important for Japan and the United States to work more closely together.

The meeting, which was attended by the U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Rahm Emanuel, also saw a discussion of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The prime minister asked for U.S. cooperation to bring back Japanese nationals kidnapped by North Korea decades ago.

Saturday s meeting with the U.S. delegation came after the group delivered a message of support for Taiwan during a visit Friday, a move that China responded with a display of military force.

Here is my promise to you and the Taiwanese people: We are going to make China pay a greater price for what they are doing all over the world, Graham said during a meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen in Taipei. The support for Putin has to come with a price. The cyberattack on your economy and people by the communist Chinese needs to come with a price. The People's Liberation Army said it conducted air and naval training near Taiwan on Friday in response to the wrong signals sent by the U.S. Shi Yi, a spokesman for the Eastern Theater Command, said that the military would remain on high alert to protect national sovereignty and regional peace.

The Russian invasion has raised concerns that China may take control of the democratic island by force. The events in Ukraine have eroded confidence that world powers would be able to prevent a similar crisis over the island.

Graham and other members of the delegation emphasized the strength of bipartisan commitment in the U.S. on defending Taiwan. Menendez, the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the delegation ignored a warning from a very unhappy China not to travel to Taipei, saying it won't dissuade us in the future in supporting Taiwan. The Chinese Embassy in Washington said in a statement that the U.S. should end all forms of official interaction with Taiwan. Beijing views the contacts as a violation of its position that there is only one China. The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a regular press conference in Beijing that the senators should not make irresponsible remarks. When asked later on about scientific exchanges between Russia and his nation, Zhao said they re advancing normally, adding that the two sides will continue to follow the concept of lasting friendship. While Tsai s government asserts that Taiwan is an already a de facto independent nation in need of wider international recognition, Beijing claims that the island is part of its territory that it must reclaim by force if necessary. China has increased its military forays into the island's air-defense identification zone, more than doubled its military forays last year.

The reports last week said that U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would visit Taiwan as part of a trip to Asia, a visit that would have been the first by a person in her position in 25 years. Pelosi's office declined to confirm that, and the Asia trip was later canceled because she tested positive for COVID - 19.