Three US senators to visit Taiwan in trip expected to anger China

<p>Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth outside the US Capitol.</p> (Copyright 2020 the Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth outside the US Capitol.

(Copyright 2020 the Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

A bipartisan group of US senators are set to meet with top Taiwanese officials during a visit to the disputed island next Sunday that is likely to further inflame tensions between Washington and Beijing.

The delegation of three includes Democratic Senators Chris Coons and Tammy Duckworth, as well as Republican Senator Dan Sullivan. Mr Coons is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, while Ms Duckworth and Mr Sullivan are members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, according to the Associated Press.

The Independent has reached out for confirmation of the trip.

Their visit to the American Institute in Taiwan, where the organisation told the AP that they will meet with “senior Taiwan leaders,” comes amid heightened tensions between the US and China over US support for Taiwan’s claims of self-governance.

Beijing has considered Taiwan to be part of its territory since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, and as recently as 2019 threatened military action if any efforts were made to separate Taiwan from China.

Taiwan, which operates independently from Beijing, refers to itself as a “country” in official documentation, has maintained a close yet unofficial relationship with the US and during the Trump administration saw three official delegations visit the island.

In recent months including under the Biden administration, US ships have continued to carry out freedom of navigation operations through the Taiwan Strait, provoking furious responses from Beijing and the Chinese military.

"The US actions sends the wrong signals to Taiwan independence forces, deliberately disrupting the regional situation and endangering peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait," a spokesperson for China’s Eastern Theatre Command told the AP in May.

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