Rep McCaul Leads US Delegation To Taiwan After Major Chinese Military Drills

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, May 28, 2024 - 09:40 PM

Authored by Dave DeCamp via,

Rep. Michael McCaul, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is leading a bipartisan congressional delegation in Taiwan, a trip that came after China concluded two days of major drills around the island that it launched in response to the inauguration of President William Lai.

Lai, a member of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), took a more confrontational tone toward the mainland in his inauguration speech than his predecessor, Tsai Ing-wen, also a member of the DPP.

Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, with new Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te in Taipei on Monday. Taiwan Presidential Office, AP

Beijing launched military exercises that it said were a "punishment" for "separatist acts," referring to Lai’s speech. The exercises involved simulating a blockade on Taiwan, marking the most extensive drills around the island since then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) traveled to Taiwan in August 2022.

China is against all congressional visits to Taiwan and strongly criticized McCaul’s delegation. "In disregard of China’s strong opposition, relevant members of the US Congress still decided to visit Taiwan, which violates the one-China principle, the three China-US joint communiqués, and the US government’s own political commitment,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning.

McCaul made provocative comments during the start of his visit, warning that Congress could declare war on China if it attacked Taiwan. "If the island in an unprovoked manner was invaded, then it would be to the American people and the United States Congress, and my committee that has the power to declare war, how to deal with that," he said.

McCaul added that for now, his job is to seek "deterrence" to avoid war, but the strategy the US is pursuing is raising tensions in the region and making a conflict seem more likely. Increased US military and diplomatic support for Taiwan in recent years has put the island under significantly more Chinese military pressure.

The congressional delegation vowed that more US weapons are on the way to Taiwan. The US has sold weapons to Taiwan since Washington severed diplomatic relations with Taipei in 1979 but only began providing military aid last year, marking a significant escalation in US support for the island.

The $95 billion foreign military aid bill President Biden signed into law last month included about $8 billion for military aid to Taiwan and other spending in the region. The $8 billion for the Asia Pacific region received more support in the House than aid for Ukraine and Israel, passing overwhelmingly in a vote of 385-34.

McCaul noted the strong bipartisan support for arming Taiwan. "Even though there are debates about other theaters of war, I can tell you there is no division or no dissension when it comes to Taiwan in the Congress," he said.