© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) wears a protective mask during a Senate Armed Services hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, U.S. May 7, 2020. Kevin Dietsch/Pool via REUTERS
TAIPEI (Reuters) – Three U.S. senators will visit Taiwan next week and will meet senior leaders to discuss security and other issues, the de facto U.S. embassy in Taipei said on Saturday, a trip that will likely irritate China.
The United States, like most countries, has no formal diplomatic ties with the island that is claimed by China, but is its most important international backer and supplier of arms.
The American Institute in Taiwan said that Tammy Duckworth and Dan Sullivan of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Christopher Coons of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will travel to Taiwan on Sunday.
Their trip is part of a larger visit to the Indo-Pacific region, it added.
“The bipartisan congressional delegation will meet with senior Taiwan leaders to discuss U.S.-Taiwan relations, regional security, and other significant issues of mutual interest.”
The trip will come as Taiwan is dealing with a spike in COVID-19 cases and has complained about China trying to block the island from accessing vaccines internationally, which Beijing has denied.
In recent months China has increased pressure on democratically-ruled Taiwan as it tries to assert its sovereignty, including regularly flying military aircraft into Taiwan’s air defence zone.
China routinely denounces visits of foreign officials to Taiwan, calling them an interference in the country’s internal affairs.
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