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Taiwan offices mum on visits by U.S. congressional delegation

ROC Central News Agency

11/10/2021 09:26 PM

Taipei, Nov. 10 (CNA) Taiwan's Presidential Office and Ministry of National Defense (MND) declined to comment Wednesday on reported visits by an American congressional delegation whose members were pictured leaving the two offices earlier in the day.

The photos, published in the local media, showed members of the delegation leaving the Presidential Office in a convoy of sedans Wednesday morning and waving to reporters from a bus that was departing the MND headquarters in the afternoon.

According to media reports, the visiting delegation, comprising United States senators John Cornyn of Texas, Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, Mike Crapo of Idaho and Mike Lee of Utah, and Representative Jake Ellzey of Texas, called on President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) at the Presidential Office on Wednesday morning.

The congressional group, all Republicans, then visited the MND headquarters in Taipei's Dazhi area in the afternoon and were briefed by senior Taiwanese military officials on China's recent military intimidation efforts against Taiwan, the reports said.

When reached by CNA reporters, the Presidential Office and MND declined to comment on the delegation's reported visits or its itinerary in Taiwan.

A flight tracker app showed a U.S. Navy C-40 Clipper military transport plane arriving in Taiwan Tuesday night from the Philippines, and according to reports, it was carrying the American congressional delegation.

Shortly after, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) confirmed the low-key visit but declined to give any details on the length of the delegation's stay or itinerary in Taiwan, citing the wishes of the American lawmakers.

MOFA spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said the trip was arranged by the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), which serves as the de facto U.S. embassy in Taipei in the absence of diplomatic ties.

Based on an agreement between Taipei and Washington, the foreign ministry would not provide any details of the visit, Ou said, adding that more information would be made public in due course.

Meanwhile, when asked to comment, an AIT spokesman referred the CNA reporter to an assistant of Senator Cornyn, but as of Wednesday night, the aide had not responded to an email request for information.

Cornyn is one of the initiators of several pro-Taiwan bills in the U.S. Senate, including the Taiwan Partnership Act that was submitted in July, calling for partnership between the U.S. National Guard and Taiwan's military, and the Taiwan Deterrence Act put forth earlier this month to increase military aid to Taiwan and bolster its defense, amid China's growing coercion.

(By Wen Kuai-hsiang, Chung Yu-chen and Joseph Yeh)


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