- Five US lawmakers visited Taiwan on Thursday.
- Rep. Elissa Slotkin said the Chinese embassy in DC had told her to cancel the trip.
- China claims Taiwan as its own and has been warning the US to stop engaging with the island nation.
Five US lawmakers traveled to Taiwan over the Thanksgiving holiday, defying China’s demands.
The trip, led by Rep. Mark Takano, who chairs the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, landed in Taiwan on Thursday ahead of a 24-hour visit set to focus on security matters, Reuters reported.
China is obstinate that Taiwan is part of the country, whereas Taiwan, which has been self-governing for decades, is fiercely opposed to the idea.
The other lawmakers on the delegation are Reps. Elissa Slotkin, Sara Jacobs, Nancy Mace, and Colin Allred. Takano, Slotkin, Jacobs, and Allred are Democrats, while Mace is a Republican.
After news of the trip broke on Thursday, Slotkin tweeted that her office received a “blunt message” from the Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC, “telling me to call off the trip.”
In the message, a copy of which was obtained by NBC News, the embassy said the trip threatened US-China relations.
“We strongly urge the Congresswoman immediately cancel the planned visit to Taiwan, and not to support and embolden separatist forces of ‘Taiwan independence,’ lest it cause huge damage to the China-US relations and the peace and stability of Taiwan Straits,” it said, according to NBC News.
The delegation has gone ahead with their trip regardless.
The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Washington, DC, did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
US-China tensions over Taiwan have worsened in recent weeks.
In late October, President Joe Biden appeared to suggest that the US would defend Taiwan from an attack by China. The White House clarified hours later that the US policy of “strategic ambiguity” had not changed.
Earlier in November, Biden hinted, then appeared to retract, support for Taiwanese independence, prompting Chinese President Xi Jinping to tell Biden during their summit that he was “playing with fire.”
Biden also invited Taiwan to an upcoming democracy summit, scheduled for December, prompting China to say on Wednesday that it was a “mistake.”
China opposes “any official interaction between the US and China’s Taiwan region,” Zhu Fenglian, a spokesperson for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, said Wednesday.
On Monday, China said it would punish any companies that support Taiwan independence or Taiwanese companies on the mainland.
Slotkin tweeted her support for Taiwan on Friday.
“I’m midway through my visit to Taiwan & this much is clear: this place is on the rise. The fortitude & determination of the people, led by their dynamic (frankly, kick-ass) President, is downright inspiring — and I don’t inspire easily. Democratic values still & always matter,” she wrote, referring to Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who has publicly railed against Chinese interference in Taiwan.
Slotkin previously tweeted the delegation would also discuss issues related to the US automobile industry, as Taiwan is the “industry’s largest supplier of microchips.”