Rep. Sara Jacobs of San Diego and four other House members arrived in Taiwan on Thursday for a short trip focused on meetings with the island’s defense ministry.
The trip comes as China has stepped up military and political pressure to assert its sovereignty claims over the island, spurring anger in Taipei where the government has vowed to defend Taiwan’s freedom and democracy.
The de facto U.S. embassy in Taiwan said the delegation was made up of Jacobs, Mark Takano of Riverside, Colin Allred of Texas, Elissa Slotkin of Michigan and Nancy Mace of South Carolina. They are scheduled to leave on Friday, it added.
“The congressional delegation will meet with senior Taiwan leaders to discuss U.S.-Taiwan relations, regional security, and other significant issues of mutual interest,” it said.
Taiwan’s official Central News Agency said earlier the trip was expected to focus on meetings with defense officials as well as with President Tsai Ing-wen.
The five lawmakers had been in East Asia on a trip to Japan and South Korea, where Jacobs served Thanksgiving lunch to troops at Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek.
It would be the second trip of lawmakers to Taiwan this month.
China’s military conducted a combat readiness patrol in the direction of the Taiwan Strait earlier this month, after its defense ministry condemned a visit to Taiwan by a U.S. congressional delegation it said had arrived on a military aircraft.
On Wednesday the USS Milius, a guided-missile destroyer, conducted a freedom-of-navigation mission through the Taiwan Strait that separates the island from China.
The United States like most countries has no official ties with Taiwan but is the democratically-ruled island’s most important international backer and arms supplier, to Beijing’s anger.
Reuters contributed to this article.