US lawmaker says China told her not to visit Taiwan

China regards matters relating to Taiwan as internal.
China regards matters relating to Taiwan as internal.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - A United States lawmaker defied what she says was a demand from China that she abandon a trip to Taiwan, a move that risks escalating tensions between Washington and Beijing.

"When news of our trip broke yesterday, my office received a blunt message from the Chinese Embassy, telling me to call off the trip," Ms Elissa Slotkin, a Democrat from Michigan, wrote on Twitter shortly after landing in Taiwan late Thursday (Nov 25) as part of a trip that that also includes Japan and South Korea.

"But just as with other stops, we're here to learn about the region and reaffirm the US commitment to our hosts, the Taiwanese," she added.

"I'm looking forward to an informative trip."

China regards matters relating to Taiwan as internal.

When a separate group of US lawmakers arrived in democratically ruled Taiwan on an American military plane earlier this month, China's military said it conducted joint operations in the Taiwan Strait in response to "the erroneous words and deeds of relevant countries on the Taiwan question".

Slotkin is in Taiwan along with Democrats Mark Takano, Colin Allred and Sara Jacobs, and Republican Nancy Mace.

Slotkin has been vocal about the impact the global semiconductor shortage has had on the car industry in the southern Michigan region she represents.

The White House and industry representatives have been pressing Congress to pass legislation that would provide US$52 billion (S$71 billion) in funding to help build chip-making facilities in the US.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said the funds would enhance US competitiveness with China.

Slotkin and the other legislators are scheduled to meet Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, and visit the Defence Ministry and Veteran Affairs Council during their stop, according to local reports.

Ten lawmakers from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia plan a trip to Taiwan next week to speak at a parliamentary forum. China this week downgraded ties with Lithuania because the Baltic nation let Taipei set up a set up a representative office under the name of Taiwan.