Taiwan has been visited by more members of the U.S. Congress. Senator Ed Markey, of Massachusetts, led a five-member delegation on an August 14-15 trip to the island. The show of support for Taiwanese democracy came less than two weeks after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had visited the self-governed island claimed by China.

On Twitter, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted a photo of the delegation meeting with Taiwanese officials. "Authoritarian China can't dictate how democratic Taiwan makes friends, wins support, stays resilient & shines like a beacon of freedom," the post said.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen met the delegation and tweeted: "Your visit facilitates stronger, more substantive ties between our countries."

The visit had first been made public by the American Institute in Taiwan on Twitter hours before the delegation's arrival.

The post was linked to a statement which said the Americans would be meeting "senior Taiwan leaders to discuss U.S.-Taiwan relations, regional security, trade and investment, global supply chains, climate change, and other significant issues of mutual interest."

The statement noted that Markey, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was being accompanied on the trip by the following four members of the House of Representatives:

  • Congressman Don Beyer, of Virginia.
  • Congressman John Garamendi, of California.
  • Congressman Alan Lowenthal, of California.
  • Congresswoman Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen, of American Samoa.

The congresswoman is a Republican.

All other members of the delegation belong to the Democratic Party.

'This is how confrontation builds'

Charles Kupchan, of Georgetown University, told The New York Times that Chinese President Xi Jinping could be expected to react angrily to the delegation's visit, just as he had to Pelosi's visit. "This is how confrontation builds," Kupchan said.

Bonnie Glaser, of the Asia program at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, told the paper that one more congressional delegation was expected to travel to Taiwan this month.

'Is this really going to help Taiwan?'

Glaser told Taiwan Insider that she worried about the long-term consequences of Pelosi's visit to the island. Before American leaders took actions concerning Taiwan, they should think about what the impact on the island's security would be, she said.

"The most important criteria for me is: Is this really going to help Taiwan’s security? Is it going to make Taiwan more able to resist China?" Glaser said. A video of her comments has been posted on Twitter.

During the delegation's meeting with the Taiwanese president, China announced that it had carried out more military exercises around the island as "a stern deterrent" to further development of relations between the two democracies, according to the Voice of America.

The threat of North Korean weapons

Before visiting Taiwan with the other members of the delegation, Markey had gone to Seoul. He tweeted a photo of his meeting with South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol. In the post, the senator said the two had discussed “shared efforts to strengthen the U.S.-South Korea alliance, including investment and trade between our countries and the threat posed by North Korea.”

In a statement on Markey’s official senate web page, he said, “Through my meetings with President Yoon and other senior government officials, it was evident that our two countries are prepared to meet existential and pressing global challenges head-on.” Markey noted that North Korea’s weapons were growing in “size, diversity, and lethality.”

Markey also recalled his meetings with U.S. Ambassador to Seoul Philip Goldberg and Tae Young-ho, a North Korean defector and currently a member of South Korea’s legislature.