U.S. lawmakers visit Taiwan amid Chinese pressure

U.S. lawmakers visit Taiwan amid Chinese pressure

TAIPEI Reuters - A group of six U.S. lawmakers, including chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Bob Menendez, landed in Taiwan on Thursday for a previously unannounced visit, in a show of support for the island in the face of Chinese pressure.

The United States has no formal relationship with Chinese-claimed Taiwan, but is its most important international backer and arms supplier.

Taiwan is heartened by the continued U.S. support provided by the Biden administration, which has repeatedly talked of its commitment to the democratically governed island. That has already strained the poor Sino-U. The Bipartisan group, which will meet Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Friday morning on their two-day visit, arrived at Taipei's downtown Songshan airport on a U.S. Air Force aircraft and was greeted by Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu.

Xavier Chang, a spokesman for the Presidential Office spokesman, said the visit shows not only the bipartisan U.S. support for Taiwan, but also the rock solid nature of Taiwan-US relations.

Through this face-to- face exchange, the S. partnership will continue to work together to contribute to global and regional peace, stability, prosperity and development, he added.

Menendez, a Democrat, is a staunch supporter of Taiwan. In February he co-proposed a bill that would require the United States to negotiate the renaming of Taiwan's de facto embassy in Washington, as Taiwan Representative Office Senior Republican Senator Lindsey Graham is also on the trip.