US Lawmakers Vow More Arms For Taiwan's Lai

(MENAFN- Asia Times) A bipartisan group of United States lawmakers met with the new Taiwanese President in Taipei on Monday after the People's Liberation army held large-scale joint exercises near Taiwan last week.

The delegation of six House members, led by Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is the first group of US officials to visit Taiwan after the island's President Lai Ching-te took office on May 20.

On May 24, the Chinese army concluded two days of military drills near Taiwan in response to Lai's inauguration speech, which was seen by Beijing as a Promotion of“Taiwan independence.”

“The forces of China conducted intimidating military exercises, sending 111 aircrafts and 46 warships, demonstrating that they are not interested in taking Taiwan by peaceful means, as agreed to in the US-Taiwan Relations Act in 1979,” McCaul said in an opening speech during a meeting with Lai.

“All democracies must stand together against aggression and tyranny,” he said.“Whether it's Putin in Russia, the Ayatollah in Iran or Chairman Xi next door to us in China, an unholy alliance is eroding peace around the world.”

After the meeting with Lai, McCaul held a joint press briefing with Taiwanese Foreign Minister Lin Chia-lung.

McCaul said the latest PLA drills were essentially a preview of what a blockade of the Taiwan Strait would look like. He said it is important to make sure Taiwan has the weapons necessary for deterrence. He also said Washington will bolster Taiwan's defense by speeding up the delivery of defensive weapons from the US.


Asia Times

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