Taiwan hosts U.S. lawmakers at Asia Forum

By Mai Nguyen, CNN • Updated 19th September 2015

Singapore (CNN) — Nearly three dozen U.S. lawmakers arrived in Taipei on Monday on a week-long goodwill tour that includes attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Beijing.

The delegation, which was led by Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, includes lawmakers from both parties, and consists of congressional leaders from the U.S. House and Senate, as well as a representative from the U.S. Trade Representative.

The lawmakers plan to meet with the Taiwanese prime minister, president and other leaders, including those from other APEC member countries, according to a statement released by the delegation.

“These meetings will help our delegation understand the world’s fastest growing economy and our very best customer,” said Kristina Schake, assistant Senate majority leader.

Taiwan split from China in 1949 after a civil war and it remains a cross-strait political division with limited contact between the two sides.

In 2009, the United States broke diplomatic ties with Taiwan to instead tie its ties to China under the so-called One China policy.

That same year, the new U.S. ambassador to Taiwan Stephen Young made an unsuccessful visit to Taipei as part of a process to change Taiwan’s status.

Ties with China has also been closely watched as some in the United States advocate recognizing Taiwan with the status of an independent nation.

In May, Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou said U.S. companies should go to Taiwan because that country has a free market, recognized by the United States, and will create “thousands of good jobs.”

“The 21st century is about businesses from around the world seeking new markets, new opportunities,” Ma said during a dinner in Taipei.

After meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping on Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Asia’s second-largest economy, China, was viewed as positive.

“It is good that Secretary Kerry understands the concern that we have had about a lack of interaction between the Chinese and the American public, and now it is important to have an up-front and candid conversation about the issues that are important for the United States in Asia,” Kerry said Sunday, according to Reuters.

While in Beijing, Kerry spoke with Premier Li Keqiang in the highest-level contact between the countries’ leaders since the poisoning death of a Chinese dissident in the United States in 2001.

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