Illinois senator visits Taiwan as China ups military threat

Duckworth, Ing-wen discuss close economic, political and security relations between Taipei and Washington

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Associated Press

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., meets with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen at the Presidential Office in Taipei, Taiwan, May 31. On a visit to Taiwan, reiterated support for the island amid rising Chinese threats.

Associated Press

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

The Democratic senator from Illinois met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and emphasized the close economic, political and security relations between Taipei and Washington.

Meanwhile, 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 helicoper 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 U.S. National Guard.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said the visit was counterproductive and urged the U.S. to end all official contacts with Taiwan.

“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,” Zhao said.

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