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Canadian MPs arrive in Taiwan in latest show of Western support after Tsai’s U.S. trip

Click to play video: 'Canadian delegation meets Taiwan’s government in wake of Chinese military drills'
Canadian delegation meets Taiwan’s government in wake of Chinese military drills
WATCH: A delegation of Canadian MPs arrived in Taiwan this week for a multi-day visit, marking the latest show of Western support for the island following the Taiwanese president’s trip to the U.S. last week. Jeff Semple reports – Apr 12, 2023

A delegation of Canadian MPs has arrived in Taiwan for a multi-day visit, marking the latest showing of Western support for the island following the Taiwanese president’s trip to the U.S. last week.

The arrival of the delegation also comes after China completed three days of large-scale combat drills near Taiwan that included sealing off the democratically-governed island, which Beijing views as its own.

The multi-party delegation is being led by Liberal MP John McKay, who chairs the House of Commons standing committee on national defence, according to a statement from his office Monday announcing the group’s arrival.

That committee’s vice-chair, Conservative MP James Bezan, is also a part of the group, along with members of the special committee on Canada-China relations and foreign affairs committee vice-chair Stephane Bergeron of the Bloc Quebecois. In total, the group consists of three Liberal MPs, four Conservative MPs, two NDP MPs and Bergeron as the sole representative of the Bloc.

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The delegation landed in Taipei on Sunday and will be there until April 15, McKay’s office said.

Click to play video: 'China’s military drills encircle Taiwan as ‘stern warning’ after Tsai’s U.S. visit'
China’s military drills encircle Taiwan as ‘stern warning’ after Tsai’s U.S. visit

The Canadian Trade Office in Taipei said in a Facebook post the group will meet with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and Vice President Lai Ching-te, as well as business community representatives and local non-governmental organizations.

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The Canadians’ arrival comes just a day after Tsai met with a delegation of U.S. lawmakers in Taiwan over the weekend.

Click to play video: 'China denounces U.S.-Taiwan meeting, says it sends ‘seriously wrong signal’'
China denounces U.S.-Taiwan meeting, says it sends ‘seriously wrong signal’

That visit came after Tsai returned from a trip to the United States that culminated in a bilateral meeting with U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California.

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Tsai’s overseas trip, which was framed as a delicate mission to shore up Taiwan’s dwindling diplomatic alliances in Central America and boost its U.S. support, angered China and sparked three days of military drills around the island.

Click to play video: 'Taiwan president calls China’s military drills “irresponsible” as aircraft, ships remain around country'
Taiwan president calls China’s military drills “irresponsible” as aircraft, ships remain around country

The exercises were similar to ones conducted by China last August, when it launched missile strikes on targets in the seas around Taiwan in retaliation for then-speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, but have been smaller and less disruptive.

Canada last sent a delegation of MPs to Taiwan last October, which also sparked a hostile reaction from Beijing that claimed the visit “blatantly violates the one-China principle” and “grossly interferes” with its internal affairs.

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China’s embassy in Canada did not respond to a request for comment Monday on the latest delegation.

Although Canada says it respects the “One-China Policy” that does not recognize Taiwan’s sovereignty from China, Taiwan still enjoys trade relationships and bilateral cooperation with Ottawa.

Taiwan is included in Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, unveiled late last year, which seeks to deepen economic relations with most countries in the region while moving away from dependence on Chinese trade and investment.

In February, International Trade Minister Mary Ng announced she and Taiwan’s trade representative John Deng had agreed to to begin formal negotiations on a trade agreement that will strengthen trade and investment.

Taiwan is also a key manufacturer of semiconductor chips that have become crucial to the technology and telecommunication industries, prompting Canada to seek deeper cooperation on investments and contracting.

— with files from the Associated Press

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