Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and 25 other Republican senators released a joint statement on Tuesday praising Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) visit to Taiwan minutes after she landed on the island.
Pelosi is the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Taiwan in 25 years after firm warnings and opposition from China.
“We support Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan,” the statement reads.
“For decades, members of the United States Congress, including previous Speakers of the House, have travelled to Taiwan,” it continues. “This travel is consistent with the United States’ One China policy to which we are committed. We are also committed now, more than ever, to all elements of the Taiwan Relations Act.”
Pelosi landed in Taiwan on Tuesday after days of speculation over whether she would visit the self-governing, democratic island.
The move is expected to heavily anger China, which considers the island to be part of its territory. Beijing has issued stark warnings in recent days as speculation about a potential Pelosi visit swirled, vowing that China would take “strong and resolute measures to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Under the “One China” policy and the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, the U.S. is committed to supporting Taiwan without a promise of direct engagement if China invades, a philosophy commonly known as strategic ambiguity.
The statement’s signatories include Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Jim Risch (R-Idaho), McConnell and four of his five-member leadership team: Sens. John Barrasso (Wyo.), Roy Blunt (Mo.), Joni Ernst (Iowa) and John Thune (S.D.).
Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), who chairs the Senate Republicans’ campaign arm, was the only member of GOP leadership that did not sign on to the statement.
The statement’s other Republican signatories were: Sens. Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), John Boozman (Ark.), Richard Burr (N.C.), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), Susan Collins (Maine), John Cornyn (Texas), Kevin Cramer (N.D.), Mike Crapo (Idaho), Steve Daines (Mont.), Deb Fischer (Neb.), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), James Inhofe (Okla.), Rob Portman (Ohio), Ben Sasse (Neb.), Tim Scott (S.C.), Dan Sullivan (Alaska), Thom Tillis (N.C.), Pat Toomey (Pa.), Tommy Tuberville (Ala.) and Todd Young (Ind.).