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US house officials led by China committee chairman to visit Taiwan on Feb 21

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Washington: The US House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mike Gallagher and a delegation of lawmakers will visit Taiwan on February 21 in a show of the United States’ support for the island after the elections, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday, citing three people familiar with his plan.

On January 13, Taiwan held a general election in which pro-independence candidate Lai Ching-te of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party won with 40.05% of the vote to head the island’s local administration. Lai is expected to be sworn in as the island’s new leader on May 20.

The report said two Taiwanese officials expect Gallagher to lead a delegation of seven US lawmakers to Taipei next week.

The delegation is expected to meet with Lai and Han Kuo-yu, the newly elected legislative speaker from the Kuomintang (KMT), the island’s second major party, which advocates dialogue with mainland China, the report said.

Taiwan has been governed independently of mainland China since 1949. Beijing views the island as its province, while Taiwan, a territory with its own elected government, maintains that it is an autonomous country but stops short of declaring independence. Beijing opposes any official contacts of foreign states with Taipei and considers Chinese sovereignty over the island indisputable.

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