Sen. Markey to lead SECOND Dem-led delegation to Taiwan after Pelosi trip enrages China

A five-member delegation of mostly congressional Democrats unexpectedly landed in Taiwan on Sunday for a two-day visit, raising the possibility of even more anger and aggression from the Chinese.

Led by Sen. Ed Markey, the delegation is slated to meet with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu, and local lawmakers to “discuss bilateral relations, regional security, trade and investment, global supply chains, climate change, and other significant issues of mutual interest,” according to Bloomberg.

Other members of the delegation reportedly include Democrat Reps. John Garamendi, Alan Lowenthal, and Don Beyer, in addition to Republican Rep. Amata Radewagen.

It’s not clear yet how China will respond.

What’s known is that the Chinese lashed out after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan around the start of the month.

“Beijing, which repeatedly warned against the visit, has responded with severe condemnation and days of live-fire drills around Taiwan, including dozens of incursions over the median line in the Taiwan Strait, a de facto boundary that it had hitherto honoured,” the South China Morning Post reported on Saturday.

Interestingly, in a statement to the SCMP, U.S.-China relations expert Lu Xiang of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences warned that if “further moves” were made by the U.S., there would be “further countermeasures”

“When we said China-US relations had reached rock bottom during the Trump administration, we really misread it. The Pelosi incident is very damaging. China’s reaction will also continue. If there are further moves there will be further countermeasures,” he said.

Will a delegation of U.S. lawmakers visiting Taiwan in the immediate aftermath of Pelosi’s visit count as “further moves?”

Maybe, maybe not.

“While [Pelosi] was the highest ranking US official to make it Taiwan in a quarter century, visits by other members of Congress are common,” Bloomberg notes.

“During her meeting with the Taiwanese leader, Pelosi noted that several US senators, including the chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, Democrat Bob Menendez, had visited this year without drawing a firestorm of criticism from Beijing.”

And so visits by lower-ranking U.S. lawmakers are “common.” However, a visit conducted so soon after Pelosi’s own visit could still provoke backlash.

But on the other hand, it doesn’t seem like China will respond with anything drastic.

In the days leading up to Pelosi’s visit, Chinese President Xi Jinping explicitly warned U.S. President Joe Biden of the consequences of said visit.

“Those who play with fire will perish by it. It is hoped that the U.S. will be clear-eyed about this,” Xi said to his American counterpart, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Yet China has done nothing thus far but perform live drills.

And indeed, a follow-up report by the Journal published on Thursday revealed that Xi never even had the intention of starting real beef with the U.S.

“In the July 28 conversation, Mr. Xi warned Mr. Biden of unspecified consequences if Mrs. Pelosi went to Taipei, people briefed on the call said. But he also indicated that he had no intention of going to war with the U.S. and said both sides needed to ‘maintain peace and security,'” the Journal reported.

However, the U.S. is now reportedly preparing to perform some of its own “countermeasures.”

“The United States plans to conduct new “air and maritime transits” in the Taiwan Strait in a step the White House says will reflect its response to China’s military drills in the contested strait amid rising tensions over the self-ruled island,” according to Al Jazeera.

“Kurt Campbell, the White House coordinator for Asia-Pacific issues and adviser to President Joe Biden, said despite tensions, US forces ‘will continue to fly, sail and operate where international law allows, consistent with our longstanding commitment to freedom of navigation.'”

“That includes conducting standard air and maritime transits through the Taiwan Strait in the next few weeks,” Campbell reportedly said.

Meanwhile, Taiwan, a territory whose sovereignty is disputed by China, remains resistant amid the current uproar.

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