Bipartisan Congressional delegation visits Taiwan: 'US support is firm'

The first meeting between US and Taiwanese authorities since the presidential elections on the island coincides with the first navigation, since the elections, of an American ship through the waters of the Taiwan Strait that China considers its own.

"The support of the United States for Taiwan is firm, it’s real and it is 100% bipartisan," said the co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Taiwan, Mario Díaz Balart, after meeting with the president-elect, Lai Ching-te, this Thursday in Taipei. The Republican and his Democratic counterpart Ami Bera are the first American delegation to travel to the island since the elections almost two weeks ago.

Lai thanked the visit, noting that it demonstrated Washington's solid commitment to the island country. The current Taiwanese vice president won the elections despite the active negative campaign of the Chinese Government, which went so far as to describe him as "separatist" and a "destroyer of peace." China instead tried to promote the candidacy of the candidate who came second, Hou Yu-ih, of the Kuomintang.

The president-elect also celebrated 45 years of bilateral relations, established in the Taiwan Relations Act, and pledged to work to deepen relations and achieve regional stability. An objective that China does not share: the communist regime maintains that the island is a rebellious region and its objective is reunification. Since the elections, Taiwanese authorities have denounced comforting actions by China such as the sending of spy balloons, according to Reuters.

The United States has positioned itself as a military, economic and political ally of Taiwan. However, it recognizes only the mainland government as the only Chinese government - the so-called One China Policy. China protests every time a senior American official meets with Taiwanese authorities, such as Nancy Pelosi's trip to Taipei - advised against by the Democratic Administration itself - or the meeting of then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy with President Tsai Ing-wen.

China protests

Chinese Colonel Shi Yi protested this Wednesday that the American destroyer USS John Finn sailed through the Taiwan Strait. Shi called the navigation through waters - which China considers its own - as "provocative" and malicious, according to the South China Morning Post.

"Troops in the theatre remain on high alert at all times and resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and security as well as regional peace and stability," the Chinese Army spokesperson also assured. Instead, American Vice Admiral Karl Thomas maintained that the USS John Finn had transited international waters, "beyond the territorial sea of any coastal State." "No member of the international community should be intimidated or coerced into giving up their rights and freedoms" added Thomas, who also reiterated that the United States would continue to operate where international law allows.

This Thursday, communist Ministry of National Defense spokesman Wu Qian announced new air and sea patrol operations around the island. The objective, he said in words reported by the official Xinhua agency, is to defend territorial integrity and improve Chinese war capabilities. Regarding the elections, he added: "No matter how the situation changes in Taiwan, the basic fact that there is only one China, and that Taiwan is a part of China, will not change." Taiwan, he assured, will never be a country.