Krishnamoorthi describes differences, significance of second diplomatic trip to Taiwan

Eighteen months after his first diplomatic visit to Taiwan, Democratic Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi of Schaumburg described his second this week as significantly different in both the bipartisan makeup of the U.S. delegation as well as in the lack of a bombastic response it generated from China.

Krishnamoorthi added that even though the delegation led by former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in August 2022 was made up entirely of Congressional Democrats, U.S. support for Taiwan was bipartisan even then.

And he believes an incrementally more stabilized relationship with the Chinese Communist Party is the reason for its muted reaction to this week’s U.S. diplomatic visit to Taiwan and its Vice President/President-Elect Lai Ching-te.

“I think we’re in a different geopolitical situation,” Krishnamoorthi said. “The Chinese economy is not doing well right now. They haven’t reacted the same way, in part, because we’ve made it clear we have to talk to everybody.”

While the bipartisan nature of the U.S. stance on Taiwan may stand out among a variety of international issues currently, Krishnamoorthi said there’s growing awareness — also articulated by former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — that one can’t be strong on China and weak on Russian aggression in Ukraine.

“One thing that cropped up a lot was Ukraine,” Krishnamoorthi said of his Taiwan visit. “You’d be surprised how much Ukraine was on the minds of Taiwanese.”

He added the aid the U.S. provides to Taiwan and other parts of the world where freedom and national self-determination are called into question is necessary to stop aggression from less democratic neighbors.

Though Taiwan is a nation with its own political divisions, that’s a sign of the freedom of thought that exists there — and emblematic of its strong economy, Krishnamoorthi said.

In fact, Taiwan is a leading importer of corn and soybeans from Illinois, just as it’s a major exporter of semiconductor chips.

“They’re a free people achieving great things,” Krishnamoorthi said.

One of the reasons for the trip was to shore up the U.S. relationship with Lai, whose election promises a continuation of the current president’s policies rather than a political shift, he added.

As far as China goes, though relations with the U.S. have become marginally better in the last year and a half, Krishnamoorthi said there’s still much room for improvement.

He said he’d like to see less saber-rattling from China over Taiwan, as well as less technological aggression in the form of cyberattacks that originate there.

And he emphasized that FBI Director Christopher Wray hasn’t reduced his warnings that the social media app TikTok — owned by the Chinese company ByteDance — poses a threat to U.S. national security.

Krishnamoorthi is the ranking member of the House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party. He was joined on the trip by the committee’s chairman, Republican Congressman Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, as well as Republican Congressman John Moolenaar of Michigan, Republican Congressman Dusty Johnson of South Dakota, and Democratic Congressman Seth Moulton of Massachusetts.

Gallagher also released a statement regarding the Taiwan visit.

“Time and again Taiwan has shown the world how to stand up to the CCP’s bullying and not only survive, but thrive,” he said. “We are thrilled to be in Taipei to show our support for our friends in Taiwan, President-Elect Lai and the newly elected Legislative Yuan. The United States stands with Taiwan. By promoting deeper ties between our leaders and our economies we can enhance peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”

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