Indiana’s Republican governor became the latest US lawmaker to lead a delegation to Taiwan following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip earlier this month that sparked condemnation and military threats from China.
Gov. Eric Holcomb met with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen on Monday, part of a four-day visit to Taiwan and South Korea that is intended to “further strengthen Indiana’s economic, academic and cultural connections with Taiwan and South Korea,” his office said in a statement.
His arrival comes at a time of heightened tensions between Washington and Beijing after Pelosi’s visit to self-governed Taiwan, which China believes is part of its territory and has threatened to reunify.
China responded to Pelosi’s travel to the island by extending military exercises and firing missiles into the Strait of Taiwan.
Beijing has also been sending warplanes and ships into the area around the median strip in the waterway that serves as a buffer between the island and the Chinese mainland.
Tsai remarked on the unease in the area during her meeting with Holcomb.
“In the midst of this, Taiwan has been confronted by military threats from China, in and around the Taiwan Strait. At this moment, democratic allies must stand together and boost cooperation in all areas,” Tsai said.
“Building on our existing foundation of collaboration, I look forward to our supporting one another, and advancing hand in hand, forging closer relations and creating even deeper cooperation,” she said.
Holcomb, the first Indiana governor to travel to Taiwan in 17 years, noted that his state is the home to 10 businesses from Taiwan and said he and his delegation will be discussing the latest developments in the technological chip industry, including the passing of the CHIPS Act by Congress.
“We both seek to deepen and enhance our already excellent cooperation that we’ve established over the years,” he said.
The Indiana delegation includes Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers, staff of the state’s Economic Development Corporation and educators with Purdue University’s College of Engineering.
A contingent of Democratic lawmakers, led by Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, traveled to Taiwan two weeks after Pelosi’s visit.
With Post wires