A bipartisan group from the U.S. Congress was in Taiwan this week, continuing a trend of American support for the island nation considered by China to actually belong to China.

“The security and economic freedom of the Indo-Pacific region is vital to the future of the United States,” said Rep. Kai Kahele, a Hawaii Democrat on the trip. “Taiwan’s thriving economy and Democracy make them a regional and global leader. Our meeting reconfirmed America’s commitment to their prosperity at a moment when the world is watching.”

Earlier this year House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “drew the ire” of China when she became the first U.S. speaker to visit in 25 years. Washington-Beijing relations have been tense as of late, especially in light of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Congressman Kahele (left) presents chocolate covered macadamia nuts to President Tsai Ing-wen (right)
Congressman Kahele presented chocolate-covered macadamia nuts to President Tsai Ing-wen. U.S. Congress/2022

Another congressional delegation, this one led by Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Ed Markey, went to Taipei on an unannounced two-day visit last month.

In a press release Friday, Kahele’s office said the most recent meeting came on the last day of a five-day congressional delegation to South Korea, Mongolia and Taiwan “to meet with diplomatic, government and security leaders.”

“Hawaii prides itself on being the crossroads of the Indo-Pacific, and we will benefit from deepening economic and security ties with Taiwan,” he said. “I conveyed to President Tsai our appreciation for her two previous visits to Hawaiʻi, her work to recognize and advance indigenous peoples and our interest in returning direct air service from Taipei to Honolulu to help bolster our joint tourism efforts.”

Kahele, who unsuccessfully ran for governor last month, will leave Congress when his term expires in early January.

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