Indiana’s Republican governor arrived in Taiwan Sunday for an economics-focused multi-day visit, as tensions between Taiwan and China escalate towards a possible war between the two countries.
Governor Eric Holcomb’s visit follows two other visits by American politicians to the small Asian country. China, which sees Taiwan as its own territory, views exchanges with foreign leaders with hostility.
The Indiana governor plans to meet with representatives of the semiconductor industry, emphasizing that the visit is purely focused on economic exchange. He is traveling with guests that include Purdue University’s dean of engineering – a university that recently began their own semiconductors degree program.
“We both seek to deepen and enhance our already excellent cooperation that we’ve established over the years,” Holcomb said on Monday.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s Taiwan trip earlier in August was met with scorn and appeared to have inflamed tensions between China and Taiwan.
“The story of Taiwan is an inspiration to all freedom-loving people in the United States and around the world,” Pelosi said during her trip. “Out of a crucible of challenge, you have produced a flourishing democracy.”
The Chinese military responded to the visit by conducting military exercises that included flying warplanes towards Taiwan and sending warships to the Taiwan Strait.
Those acts of aggression were condemned by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen during the conference with Gov. Holcomb on Monday.
“Taiwan has been confronted by military threats from China, in and around the Taiwan Strait,” Tsai asserted. “At this moment, democratic allies must stand together and boost cooperation in all areas.”
“Building on our existing foundation of collaboration, I look forward to our supporting one another, and advancing hand in hand, forging closer relations and creating even deeper cooperation,” Tsai added.
Governor Holcomb plans to visit South Korea after his four-day trip in Taiwan concludes.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.