US senator visits Taiwan as China ups military threat

May 30, 2022, 11:58 AM | Updated: May 31, 2022, 3:41 am

In this photo released by the Taiwan Presidential Office, U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., left, ...

In this photo released by the Taiwan Presidential Office, U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., left, meets with Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen at the Presidential Office in Taipei, Taiwan, Tuesday, May 31, 2022. On a visit to Taiwan, reiterated support for the island amid rising Chinese threats. (Taiwan Presidential Office via AP)

(Taiwan Presidential Office via AP)


              In this photo released by the Taiwan Presidential Office, U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., center left, meets with Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, center right, at the Presidential Office in Taipei, Taiwan, Tuesday, May 31, 2022. On a visit to Taiwan, Duckworth reiterated support for the island amid rising Chinese threats. (Taiwan Presidential Office via AP)
            
              In this photo released by the Taiwan Presidential Office, U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., left, meets with Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen at the Presidential Office in Taipei, Taiwan, Tuesday, May 31, 2022. On a visit to Taiwan, Duckworth reiterated support for the island amid rising Chinese threats. (Taiwan Presidential Office via AP)
            
              In this photo released by the Taiwan Presidential Office, U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., left, meets with Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen at the Presidential Office in Taipei, Taiwan, Tuesday, May 31, 2022. On a visit to Taiwan, reiterated support for the island amid rising Chinese threats. (Taiwan Presidential Office via AP)

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth on Tuesday reiterated America’s support for Taiwan on her second visit in a year to the self-governing island claimed by China.

Duckworth, meeting with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, emphasized the close economic, political and security relations between Taipei and Washington.

China sent 30 military aircraft toward the island on Monday in an ongoing campaign of regular flights. Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said it responded by scrambling jets, putting air defense missile systems on alert and issuing radio warnings.

Duckworth said she wanted to “emphasize our support for Taiwan security.” The former Army helicopter pilot and lieutenant colonel in the National Guard cited strong bipartisan backing for a bill she has put forward promoting cooperation between Taiwan’s armed forces and the National Guard.

“I do want to say that it is more than just about military. It’s also about the economy,” the Illinois Democrat told Tsai.

Tsai thanked the U.S. government and Congress “for the importance they place on peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” as well as Duckworth herself for “keeping a close watch on Taiwan related security issues.”

China said it strongly deplores Duckworth’s visit.

“Taiwan is a province of China, and there is no so-called president,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said. He urged the U.S. to end all official contacts with Taiwan.

“The U.S. government has recently sent a series of erroneous signals on the Taiwan issue,” he said. “What the U.S. government should do is to put into practice President Biden’s remarks that the U.S. does not seek a new Cold War with China, does not aim to change China’s system … and does not support Taiwan independence.”

U.S. President Joe Biden said on a recent trip to Japan and South Korea that the U.S. would intervene militarily if China were to invade Taiwan.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has put China’s threats against Taiwan under new focus, prompting increased backing for arms sales and political support from Democrats and Republicans.

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

That is seen as a potential route to blocking access to Taiwan by the U.S. and its allies in the event China makes good on its threat to invade the island.

In a speech Thursday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said President Joe Biden’s administration aims to lead the international bloc opposed to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine into a broader coalition to counter what it sees as a more serious, long-term threat to global order from China. He did say that the U.S. does not support Taiwan independence.

While relations with Taiwan are informal in deference to Beijing, the U.S. remains its main supplier of defensive arms and source of political support in international organizations where China blocks Taiwan’s participation.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Mt. Rainier death...

Associated Press

Missing Mount Rainier climber’s body found in crevasse; he was celebrating 80th birthday

Search crews on Mount Rainier have found the body of a man matching the description of an 80-year-old solo climber reported missing

16 hours ago

Washington gun restrictions...

Associated Press

Judge rejects attempt to block new Washington state gun restrictions

A federal judge on Tuesday rejected a request to block a new Washington state law banning the sale of certain semi-automatic rifles

2 days ago

FILE - A man walks past a Microsoft sign set up for the Microsoft BUILD conference, April 28, 2015,...

Associated Press

Microsoft will pay $20M to settle U.S. charges of illegally collecting children’s data

Microsoft will pay a fine of $20 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it illegally collected and retained the data of children

2 days ago

FILE - OpenAI's CEO Sam Altman gestures while speaking at University College London as part of his ...

Associated Press

OpenAI boss ‘heartened’ by talks with world leaders over will to contain AI risks

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said Monday he was encouraged by a desire shown by world leaders to contain any risks posed by the artificial intelligence technology his company and others are developing.

3 days ago

FILE - The draft of a bill that President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of Calif., neg...

Associated Press

Debt deal imposes new work requirements for food aid and that frustrates many Democrats

Democrats are deeply conflicted about the debt ceiling deal, fearing damage has been done to safety net programs

4 days ago

Seattle lawyer...

Associated Press

Lawsuit alleging ex-deputy falsified arrest report settled for $250K

A lawsuit filed by a Washington oyster farmer accusing a former county deputy of falsifying an arrest report

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Men's Health Month...

Men’s Health Month: Why It’s Important to Speak About Your Health

June is Men’s Health Month, with the goal to raise awareness about men’s health and to encourage men to speak about their health.

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!

US senator visits Taiwan as China ups military threat