WASHINGTON: Democratic lawmaker Khanna announced Friday that he will lead a delegation of Democrats and Republicans to visit Taiwan on Feb. 18 to strengthen ties between Silicon Valley and Taiwan’s semiconductor industry. Tensions between the U.S. and China, which have yet to be resolved, escalated after a Chinese spy balloon violated U.S. airspace and was shot down by U.S. forces earlier this month. The visit of a delegation of U.S. lawmakers to Taiwan at this time could spark opposition and discontent from China.
“I look forward to learning more about Taiwan’s semiconductor industry and the economic ties between Taiwan and the Silicon Valley region where I am located,” Congressman Khanna said in a statement. Under the CHIPS and Science Act, the co-sponsor of Taiwan’s semiconductor industry is essential to my constituency. At that time, I also planned to confirm the one-China policy and make it clear that we wanted to do everything possible to prevent a military conflict.
Khanna (Rep. Ro Khanna, D-CA) is a Democratic congressman from California, and is also the new “Select Committee on Strategic Competition between the Chinese Communist Party” (Select Committee on Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party). In addition, Khanna is a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Cyber, Innovative Technologies and Information Systems (CITI).
Representatives of both parties who traveled to Taiwan with Karner included Republican Representative Tony Gonzales of Texas and Democratic Representative Auchin Krauss of Massachusetts. Jake Auchinclos and Representative Jonathan Jackson, Democrat of Illinois.
Beijing has long viewed any overtures to Taiwan by U.S. officials or other countries as a threat.
In early August last year, Nancy Pelosi, then Speaker of the US House of Representatives, ignored China’s objections and warnings, insisted on visiting Taiwan and met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. China reacted with unusual anger to Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.
China retaliated by conducting an unprecedented large-scale live-fire military exercise around Taiwan, sending warships into the Taiwan Strait and other surrounding waters, deploying fighter jets over Taiwan and launching missiles in what China calls “exercises” over Taiwan’s airspace.
Since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s high-profile trip to Taiwan, several congressional delegations have also traveled to the island to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen, but Beijing’s response appears to have been less intense. A senior U.S. State Department official said Friday that “China should not use any visit as an excuse to escalate operations around Taiwan.”