US Senator Visits Taiwan as China Increases Military Threat

TAIPEI – During a visit to Taiwan, US Senator Tammy Duckworth reiterated her support for the island amid rising Chinese threats.

Duckworth met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Tuesday and stressed the close economic, political and security ties between Taipei and Washington.

China claims Taiwan as its own territory to be annexed by force and on Monday sent 30 military planes into airspace near the island. Taiwan’s defense ministry said it responded with scrambling jets, put air defense missile systems on alert and issued radio alerts.

In her remarks to Tsai, Duckworth said she wanted to “emphasise our support for Taiwan’s security.”

“I want to say that it’s more than just military. It’s also about the economy,” Duckworth, a former Army helicopter pilot and lieutenant colonel in the National Guard, told Tsai.

Duckworth also cited strong bipartisan support for a bill she has tabled to encourage cooperation between Taiwan’s armed forces and the National Guard.

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Tsai thanked the US administration and Congress “for the importance they place on peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” and Duckworth himself for keeping “a close eye on security issues related to Taiwan.”

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has brought a new focus to China’s threats against Taiwan, leading to increased support for arms sales and political support from both Democrats and Republicans.

China further upped the ante in May, reaching out to the Solomon Islands and nine other island nations with a comprehensive security offering that, even if only partially realized, could give it a presence in the Pacific, much closer to Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand and on the doorstep of the American strategic territory of Guam.

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This is seen as a potential way to block access to Taiwan by the US and its allies if China carries out its threat to invade the island.

In a speech Thursday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said President Joe Biden’s administration aims to move the international bloc opposed to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine into a broader coalition to deal with what they see as a more serious, long-term threat to the country counteract world order by China.

While relations with Taiwan are informal out of deference to Beijing, the US remains its main supplier of defense weapons and a source of political support in international organizations where China blocks Taiwan’s participation.

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https://www.local10.com/news/world/2022/05/31/us-senator-visits-taiwan-as-china-ups-military-threat/ US Senator Visits Taiwan as China Increases Military Threat

Sarah Y. Kim

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