Latest News 27-05-2024 16:05 19 Views

China’s threats, ‘naked aggression’ loom large as House lawmakers meet Taiwan’s new president

Standing across from Taiwan’s newly elected president on Monday, House Foreign Affairs Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, drew a stark parallel between China’s hostility toward the island and the tension that wracked the globe during World War II.

'All democracies must stand together against aggression and tyranny, whether it's [Vladimir Putin] and Russia, the ayatollah of Iran, or Chairman Xi next door to us in China – an unholy alliance is eroding peace around the world,' McCaul said. 'Not since World War II, my father's war, have we seen such blatant violence and naked aggression.'

The Texas Republican is leading a multi-day diplomatic trip to Taipei with a bipartisan coalition of House lawmakers. The group met with Taiwanese President Lai Ching-tse and Foreign Minister Jaushieh Joseph Wu on their first full day – the first U.S. delegation to meet with the new officials since they took office a little over a week ago.

'I gave them some updates on the weapons and some other things we're doing to help them, but they just wanted me to know that the threat was getting very intense from Chairman Xi,' McCaul told Fox News Digital after the meetings.

Rep. Young Kim, R-Calif., chair of the Foreign Affairs panel's Indo-Pacific subcommittee, told Fox News Digital, 'I thought both meetings went very productively today, we had frank conversations.'

'In all of our conversations, one thing was made very clear. Nobody wants conflict in the Taiwan Strait,' Kim said. 'Our goal is not to think about an invasion or a potential conflict, our goal is to ensure there is that deterrence by providing Taiwan what they need to protect themselves and defend themselves.'

The delegation is also made up of House Taiwan Caucus co-chair Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky., as well as Reps. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., and Chrissy Houlahan, D-Pa.

Both the Taiwanese and U.S. leaders made clear that China’s aggression in the Indo-Pacific is creating an increasingly dire situation.

It comes days after China encircled the island with dozens of warships and military planes as 'punishment' for Lai’s advocacy for a free and independent Taiwan, according to Beijing's Defense Ministry.

During his remarks to media after the lawmakers’ meeting with Lai, Foreign Minister Wu darkly joked that China had 'welcomed' the U.S. delegation with its military drills.

McCaul called it an 'intimidation tactic to punish democracy.'

'They don't like democracy. I know Chairman Xi would often tell [Former Taiwanese President Tsai] that… democracy doesn't work. Democracy is dysfunctional, democracy is broken,' he said during the press conference. 'In his government, there is no freedom. There is no democracy. And the people have no power whatsoever.'

Referencing China launching military drills around the same time as his trip to Taiwan last year, McCaul quipped, 'I’m starting to think it’s me they don’t like.'

Wu said of the lawmakers’ visit, 'In this critical time, it’s a powerful gesture. It’s a powerful display of the strong bipartisan support for Taiwan by the United States.'

During his earlier remarks at the presidential office, Lai referenced former U.S. President Reagan’s foreign policy of peace through strength.

'Therefore moving forward, I will enhance reform and bolster national defense, showing the world the Taiwanese People's determination to defend their homeland,' Lai said.

The camaraderie between the U.S. lawmakers and Taiwanese officials was palpable during both meetings. 

In a lighthearted moment before his remarks with Lai, McCaul modeled the American-made Stetson he brought as a gift for Lai. The two men shared a hug and handshake after the conclusion of their public remarks.


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