Following the visit, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian reminded the US “not to play the Taiwan card, because it’s a bad card, and a losing hand”, during a media briefing. He reminded the US not to breach the One-China policy, or send the wrong idea about “Taiwan independence”.
The five US lawmakers paid a surprise visit to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, which solidified the relationship between the eastern country and the US. It was the second visit to Taiwan in a month.
After news of the visit to Taiwan broke, “my office received a blunt message from the Chinese Embassy, telling me to call off the trip,” said Democrat Representative for Michigan Elissa Slotkin on Twitter.
The meeting with Taiwan’s president and senior leaders also included California Democrat Representatives Mark Takano and Sara Jacobs, plus Texas Representative Colin Allred, and Republican South Carolina Representative Nancy Mace.
“I’m midway through my visit to Taiwan and this much is clear: this place is on the rise,” wrote Representative for Michigan Elissa Slotkin on Twitter.
“The fortitude and determination of the people, led by their dynamic (frankly, kick-a**) President, is downright inspiring – and I don’t inspire easily. Democratic values still and always matter,” she said, snubbing China’s authoritarian politics.
Representative Takano said the island was a “force for good” and that the relationship between the US and Taiwan is “rock solid and has remained steadfast as the ties between us have deepened.”
The visit marks the third time US lawmakers have been on Taiwan soil this year, first in June to donate vaccines, as the country was in short supply.
In October, the US representative in Taiwan, Sandra Oudkirk, who is director of the American Institute, said: “The United States has a commitment to help Taiwan provide for its self-defence.”
Beijing strongly opposed Ms Oudkirk’s comments, “Don’t play with fire, or it will severely impact China-US relations and the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait,” the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement to Reuters.
Taiwan has been self-ruled since a civil war in 1949, but tensions between Taiwan and China have grown in recent years and there are mounting fears about a full-scale Chinese invasion.
Taiwan’s defence minister, Chiu Kuo-cheng, said in October that military tensions were the “worst in 40 years” between the two.
Taiwan has said that dozens of China military jets had been flown into Taiwan’s defence zone in recent weeks.