U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan doesn’t usually praise Democratic leaders, but he and 25 other Republican senators issued a statement on Tuesday supporting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan.
Pelosi is the highest-ranking American official to visit the self-ruled island in 25 years.
China sees foreign leaders’ visits to Taiwan as recognition of the island’s sovereignty. China claims Taiwan as part of its territory and announced a series of military operations after Pelosi’s arrival.
The Republic senators’ statement says the U.S. is committed to its One China policy, which recognizes Beijing but allows informal relations and defense ties with Taipei. Sullivan said Pelosi’s visit is consistent with that policy.
“This is something that we as elected officials do on a regular basis, and at the end of the day, you do not want the Chinese Community Party dictating to senior American leaders where they can and cannot travel,” he said.
China had warned of “resolute and strong measures” if Pelosi went ahead with the trip. Sullivan said it’s important for U.S. officials to unite behind Pelosi on this.
“My view, and I think the view of a number of Senators, is that we should close ranks now and not let the Chinese Communist Party try to drive wedges between American elected officials or the White House on whether or not she should be there,” he said.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski also expressed support for the visit. She calls it “an important show of solidarity and partnership between the U.S. and Taiwan at a moment that demands nothing less.”
Alaska Public Media contributed to this report.