The governor of Indiana arrived in Taipei on Sunday, becoming the latest U.S. official to visit Taiwan and defying pressure from China for such trips not to happen.
China, which claims democratically-governed Taiwan as its own territory despite the Taipei government’s strong objections, has been carrying out war games and drills near Taiwan since U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a two-day visit to Taipei earlier this month.
Last week a second group of U.S. lawmakers visited Taiwan.
Governor Eric Holcomb tweeted that he would also be visiting South Korea, while Taiwan’s presidential office said he would meet President Tsai Ing-wen on Monday morning.
“I’m energized to spend this week building new relationships, reinforcing long time ones and strengthening key sector partnerships with Taiwan and South Korea,” Holcomb tweeted.
He termed his visit to Taiwan and South Korea as an “economic development trip”, saying he was the first U.S. governor to come to Taiwan since the COVID-19 pandemic began more than two years ago.
“Our delegation will spend this week meeting with government officials, business leaders and academic institutions to further strengthen Indiana’s economic, academic and cultural connections with Taiwan and South Korea,” Holcomb wrote on his Twitter account.
There was no immediate response from China to his arrival.
China says Taiwan is the most important and sensitive issue in its relations with Washington, and that it considers it an internal issue.
Taiwan’s government says that as the People’s Republic of China has never ruled the island it has no right to claim it, and that only Taiwan’s 23 million people can decide their future.
China’s military drills have been continuing around Taiwan, though on a smaller scale than immediately after Pelosi’s trip.