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MPs To Visit Taiwan In Move Likely To Anger China

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MPs on a prominent Commons committee are visiting Taiwan this week, in a move likely to anger Beijing amid strained UK relations with China.

The foreign affairs committee said its members will be on the self-ruling island, which China claims as its territory, from Tuesday until Saturday.

The move is likely to escalate tensions with Beijing, which cut diplomatic ties with the US following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August.

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The committee will meet President Tsai Ing-Wen, the secretary-general of the National Security Council, Wellington Koo, and the premier and president of the Executive Yuan, Su Tseng-chang, during the trip.

They will also meet with businesses and civil society groups.

Tory MP Alicia Kearns, the committee’s chairwoman, said: “This visit to Taiwan has long been a priority for the foreign affairs committee.

“The UK is fortunate to enjoy strong cultural and trading ties with Taiwan, fostering shared ambitions on clean energy, education, advanced new technologies and more.

“The multiple challenges to security and prosperity across the globe make constructive ties between democracies, such as those enjoyed by the UK and Taiwan, all the more important.”

The move is unlikely to help UK-China relations.

Ms Pelosi’s trip in the summer prompted Chinese President Xi Jinping to muster a range of military and diplomatic measures, including severing climate change talks with Washington for several months.

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China-Taiwan tensions remain high Mr Xi has tightened his grip on power with an unprecedented third term in office, something which could embolden him in taking a more assertive stance towards the West and Taiwan.

Taiwan has been self-governing since nationalist forces fled there in 1949 after the communists took control of China.

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It is considered to be a rebel province by China, which claims the island as its territory and opposes any engagement by Taiwanese officials with foreign governments.

Last night, Rishi Sunak declared the “golden era” of UK-Chinese relations over, as he condemned the police crackdown on anti-lockdown protests sweeping China’s streets.

The prime minister told the annual Lord Mayor’s Banquet in London on Monday: “We recognise China poses a systemic challenge to our values and interests, a challenge that grows more acute as it moves towards even greater authoritarianism.”

But he also warned the UK “cannot simply ignore China’s significance in world affairs – to global economic stability or issues like climate change”.