“When the news of our trip came yesterday, my office received a blunt message from the Chinese embassy saying that I would cancel the trip,” the rep. Elissa Slotkin, a Michigan Democrat, wrote Thursday on Twitter. “The automotive industry’s largest supplier of microchips is here in Taiwan, so supply chain issues will definitely be on the agenda.”
Slotkin said that the side trip to Taiwan came after celebrating Thanksgiving with US troops in South Korea and that the stop would be “good to get in touch with leaders here to discuss a whole host of economic and national security issues.”
Taiwan has a difficult position in the deteriorating relationship between Washington and Beijing, with tensions rising as China increases its military position and fights fighter jets around the autonomous island.
The two-part congressional delegation that arrived on Thursday is led by House Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano, a Democrat in California, and included panelists Slotkin and Representatives Colin Allred, a Texas Democrat, and Nancy Mace, a South Carolina Republican, and Rep Sara Jacobs, a California Democrat, according to Reuters, who first reported the trip.
The news of the lawmakers’ trip comes a day after the Biden administration sent an invitation to Taiwan for its “Democracy Summit”, which will take place next month – a decision the Chinese government called a “mistake”. Reuters reported.
“We encourage them to do exactly what the Taiwanese law requires,” he continued, referring to the 1979 law that dictated the American attitude toward the island. “That’s what we do. Let them decide. Point.”
Biden explained his position when he visited the participants after his infrastructure speech that day, and said that he had made limited progress on the subject with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“We made it very clear that we support the Taiwan team, and that is it,” he said at the time.
“Its independent,” he continued. “It makes its own decisions.”
The word “independence” is a trigger when it comes to Taiwan; officially the United States does not support the island’s independence. Instead, the countries have unofficial relations and the United States provides defensive support.
CNN’s Rachel Janfaza and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.