Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) recently called on every member of Congress to visit Taiwan after making a trip to the island nation claimed by China as its own. His comment also came several months after then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) sparked international controversy by meeting leaders there over the summer.
“I think every member of Congress should visit Taiwan,” Young told Politico. “From the Speaker of the House to newly minted freshmen … I think they should all go to Taiwan. Their visits are going to be very well received.”
Young went to Taiwan last week and met with its president, top diplomats, and semiconductor company MediaTek, which he said is planning a chip design center in his state on the campus of Purdue University, according to his tweets.
China and Taiwan split in 1949 in a civil war that never officially ended. Since then, China’s openly stated goal of reabsorbing the island has grown into one of the world’s most sensitive geopolitical situations.
The U.S. officially says it has a “robust unofficial partnership” with the capitalist Taiwan, but that it does not support “Taiwan independence” or “any unilateral changes to the status quo from either side.” Tensions lately have appeared to rise, with U.S. officials giving conflicting views of China’s plans.
China condemned Pelosi’s August visit as “extremely dangerous” and compared it to “playing with fire,” as reported by Al Jazeera. After she left, China fired missiles near Taiwan and maneuvered more than 200 military aircraft and more than 50 warships near the island in a show of force, the Washington Post reported.
Young told Politico that ahead of his visit, China sent him warnings that it would “send wrong signals.” Semafor reported in October that other members of Congress have faced similar warnings over planned Taiwan visits.
“I think we’ll see more of this as we push back against the Chinese,” Young said. “It’s certainly not going to deter me.”