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Congress’ top China critics arrive in Taiwan for a visit that’s sure to draw scrutiny from Beijing

WASHINGTON — Some of Congress’ staunchest critics of China are visiting Taiwan in a show of support that is certain to draw scrutiny from Beijing, which views such interactions as a challenge to its claim of sovereignty over the island.

The delegation is led by Rep. Mike Gallagher, the Republican chairman of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, and Raja Krishnamoorthi, the committee’s ranking Democrat. The committee was formed just last year and has held numerous hearings focused on human rights, trade, cyber intrusions and other issues central to the rising tensions between the two superpowers.

“Time and again Taiwan has shown the world how to stand up to the CCP’s bullying and not only survive, but thrive,” Gallagher said in a press release issued after the group’s arrival. He went on to say that promoting deeper ties between between the leaders and economies of the U.S. and Taiwan “can enhance peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”

The delegation is expected to be on Taiwan for three days and is part of a larger visit to the Indo-Pacific region. Other members include Rep. John Moolenaar, R-Mich., Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., and Seth Moulton, D-Mass. The delegation will meet with senior Taiwanese leaders and members of civil society to discuss U.S.-Taiwan relations, regional security, trade and other significant issues of mutual interest.

Krishnamoorthi said Taiwan stands as a bulwark against the growing threats facing democracies around the world.

“Americans stand with the people of Taiwan because we recognize that democracy is not merely our form of government — it is a declaration of our values,” he said.

A visit by then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan two years ago resulted in China dispatching warships and military aircraft to all sides of the self-governing island democracy, and firing ballistic missiles into the waters nearby. Last year, a new House speaker, Kevin McCarthy, who has since left office, hosted Taiwan’s president in a rare high-level meeting on U.S. soil.

The shows of support for Taiwan reflect the growing willingness by many in Congress to confront China on a range of issues as economic relations between the two nations deteriorate. Earlier this month, the Commerce Department announced that for the first time in more than two decades, Mexico last year surpassed China as the leading source of goods imported by the United States.

Taiwan was also part of the $95 billion aid package that passed the Senate earlier this month but has stalled in the House. That package, which focused on Ukraine and Israel, included $1.9 billion to replenish U.S. weapons provided to Taiwan. Another $3.3 billion would go to build more U.S.-made submarines in support of a security partnership with Australia and the United Kingdom.

The delegation’s visit comes weeks after Lai Ching-te emerged victorious as Taiwan’s president-elect. He has vowed to safeguard the island’s de facto independence from China and further align it with other democracies.

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