Indiana governor in Taiwan after high-profile US visits

Taipei, Taiwan — Indiana’s Republican governor met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Monday, following two recent high-profile visits by US politicians that sparked Beijing’s anger and Chinese military exercises, including firing missiles over the island.

Governor Eric Holcomb arrived in Taiwan on Sunday evening for a four-day visit that will focus on economic exchanges, particularly in semiconductors, according to a statement from his office.

His visit comes at a particularly tense time for Taiwan, China and the US, after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited earlier this month. China claims the self-governed island as its own territory and views all exchanges with foreign governments as a breach of its claim.

Tsai acknowledged the tensions in her opening speech ahead of the meeting and welcomed further exchanges.

“Taiwan has been facing military threats from China, in and around the Taiwan Strait. At this time, democratic allies must join forces and foster cooperation in all areas,” she said.

Separately, Japanese lawmakers Keiji Furuya and Minoru Kihara arrived in Taiwan on Monday and will meet Tsai on Tuesday. Furuya said they also plan to visit the grave of late Taiwanese leader Lee Teng-hui.

“China’s military provocations and other actions that defy the acceptable have created risks to the peace and security of not only Taiwan, but all of East Asia,” Furuya tweeted Monday.

In response to Pelosi’s visit, the Chinese military held several days of exercises, including warplanes flying to the island and warships crossing the centerline of the Taiwan Strait, an unofficial buffer between the island and China.

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China has also imposed visa bans and other sanctions on several Taiwanese political figures, although it is unclear what effect the sanctions will have.

Emphasizing the economic nature of his visit, Holcomb noted that his state ranks among the top in the US for foreign direct investment and is home to 10 Taiwanese companies. “We both want to deepen and enhance our already excellent partnership that we’ve built over the years,” he said.

Holcomb also met with representatives from the semiconductor industry and was said to promote academic and technical cooperation between Taiwan and Indiana. His delegation will meet National Yang-Ming University and National Cheng Kung University as part of the exchange.

He travels with officials from the state’s economic development council, as well as the dean of engineering at Purdue University, who has just set up a semiconductor college. Then he visits South Korea.

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