FIRST ON FOX: A group of dozens of House Republicans are reiterating a demand that the State Department extend an invitation to Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen to an upcoming global summit in California.
In a letter Tuesday to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, 25 Republicans led by Rep. Lance Gooden, R-Texas, argued Taiwan deserved a seat at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ summit in San Francisco. They stated that Taiwan is a full APEC member in good standing and “deserves fair and equal treatment on par with other APEC member states.”
“APEC’s mission to create greater prosperity for the people within the Asia-Pacific region through a balanced and inclusive forum also allows the United States to address business concerns, promote high standards in trade and commerce, and facilitate economic growth,” the GOP lawmakers wrote. “Taiwan has made significant strides with economic, cultural, and technological contributions in not just the Asia-Pacific region but also around the world.”
“Withholding an invitation to President Tsai Ing-wen for the APEC leaders’ summit shortly after making major economic and trade commitments would undo years of bilateral progress with Taiwan and portray our government as hypocritical to the rest of the world,” they said.
The Republicans added that, while Taiwan has been a member of APEC since 1991, the nation has never received an invitation to the organization’s annual summits as a result of vigorous objections from the Chinese government and Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
In recent years, tensions between China and Taiwan have increased as the Chinese government has continued to assert that the island nation is part of its territory. Since being elected president in 2016, Ing-wen has vowed to defend Taiwan’s sovereignty while China has conducted a number of aggressive military actions, such as fighter jet flybys, near Taiwan’s borders.
“Denying the inclusion of Taiwanese leadership in APEC will only further embolden the CCP and be remembered as an immense failure of the Biden administration’s mission to uphold peace and stability in the region,” Gooden and the other Republicans continued in their letter Tuesday to Blinken.
“We encourage you to set a new precedent for APEC’s members by using our platform as the 2023 host nation to invite Taiwan to fully participate in the November summit,” the letter concluded. “We also urge you to acknowledge the expressed wishes of the Honorable Tsai Ing-Wen and the Taiwanese public for her inclusion in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.”
The letter comes months after Gooden and 20 other Republicans sent a similar letter to Blinken, calling on Taiwan’s inclusion in the San Francisco summit. They repeated the demand Tuesday, arguing the State Department’s response was inadequate.
And Gooden penned an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal days later on April 21, saying President Biden could make a “powerful statement” by inviting Ing-wen to the conference.
In June, meanwhile, the State Department’s APEC envoy Matt Murray visited Taiwan to discuss issues related to APEC and the “robust U.S.-Taiwan economic relationship” with senior Taiwanese officials, according to the American Institute in Taiwan which effectively serves as the U.S. embassy in Taiwan.
“The United States is excited to serve as APEC host in 2023 with the theme of ‘Creating a Resilient and Sustainable Future for All,’” the American Institute in Taiwan said in a statement.
“Murray discussed a number of APEC issues, including upcoming high-level meetings to be held in Seattle in August on disaster preparedness, food security, health and the economy, energy, women and the economy, and small and medium enterprises,” it continued.
The annual APEC summit is slated to take place in mid-November. Government leaders from Asian nations excluding Taiwan are expected to join private sector executives, thought leaders and other stakeholders at the event.
The co-signers on Gooden’s letter were GOP Reps. Michael McCaul of Texas, Gus Bilirakis of Florida, Tom Tiffany of Wisconsin, Andy Ogles of Tennessee, Bill Johnson of Ohio, Jake Ellzey of Texas, Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Iowa, Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee, Russell Fry of South Carolina, John Rose of Tennessee, Burgess Owens of Utah, Michael Guest of Mississippi, Keith Self of Texas, George Santos of New York, Ralph Norman of South Carolina, Chris Smith of New Jersey, Brian Babin of Texas Jake LaTurner of Kansas, Guy Reschenthaler of Pennsylvania, Cory Mills of Florida, Dan Newhouse of Washington, John Duarte of California, Earl Carter of Georgia, and Larry Bucshon of Indiana.
The State Department did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.