'Will Not Be Bullied': US Senator Arrives in Taiwan, Defies Angry Beijing
Senator Marsha Blackburn's visit is the third such visit by a US dignitary this month.
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A US lawmaker on the Senate Commerce and Armed Services committees arrived in Taiwan on Thursday, 25 August, despite pressure from Beijing to not visit the self-ruled island.
Senator Marsha Blackburn, who landed in Taiwan late on Thursday night and was welcomed on the airport tarmac by Director General of Taiwan's Foreign Affairs Ministry Douglas Hsu, said her visit "was a message to Beijing."
"We will not be bullied,” she tweeted right after landing.
After US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit earlier in August, China, which claims Taiwan as its own, had launched military drills near the island in retaliation.
'Will Continue To Stand With Taiwan'
"Taiwan is our strongest partner in the Indo-Pacific Region. Regular high-level visits to Taipei are long-standing US policy," Blackburn's statement read, as per Reuters.
"I will not be bullied by Communist China into turning my back on the island," she added.
Further, in a series of tweets, the Republican senator from Tennessee said that the US remains steadfast in preserving freedom around the globe.
"I will continue to stand with the Taiwans and their right to freedom and democracy," she tweeted.
What Happened When Nancy Pelosi Visited?
Earlier this month, US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan despite China warning against it.
China had warned that Washington will “pay a price” for its “mistakes” and asked it to stop using the Taiwan issue to contain it in any form.
Within minutes of Pelosi's arrival in Taiwan, China announced a series of live-fire drills and missile launches encircling Taiwan from 4 to 7 August. This was swiftly followed by economic sanctions on Taiwanese agricultural goods and imports of Chinese sand.
Around a week later, Pelosi's visit was followed by another visit by a group of five other US lawmakers, after which China's military responded by carrying out more exercises near Taiwan.
"Members of Congress and elected officials have gone to Taiwan for decades and will continue to do so, and this is in line with our longstanding One China policy," Reuters quoted a White House national security council spokesperson as saying.
China views Taiwan as its own territory, much against the objections of the democratically elected government in Taipei.
“Taiwan is China’s Taiwan, and Taiwan will eventually return to the embrace of the motherland. Chinese people are not afraid of ghosts, pressure and the evil,” said Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng.
(With inputs from Reuters.)
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