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U.S. lawmakers ignore China's warning, meet with Taiwan's new leader

TAIPEI, Taiwan - A bipartisan delegation of U.S. lawmakers met Monday with Taiwan's new leader, Lai Ching-te, the first such visit since Lai's inauguration last week, and one that the lawmakers and Taiwanese officials said demonstrates the steadfastness of U.S. support for Taiwan at a time of escalating tensions with China.

China, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory even though the Chinese Communist Party has never ruled the island, last week responded to Lai's inauguration with large-scale military drills, surrounding the island in a blockade-style exercise that involved more than 100 aircraft and dozens of warships.

"America is and always will be a reliable partner, and no amount of coercion or intimidation will slow down or stop the routine visits by the Congress to Taiwan," Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and leader of the delegation, said Monday at a joint news conference with Lai.


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