Following the recent visit to Taiwan by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and, subsequently, another delegation of U.S. congressmen, now members of the Canada-Taiwan Friendship Group and members of Parliament's standing committee on international trade, intend to follow in the footsteps of their U.S. congressional colleagues and are preparing a trip to the island in October this year.
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While acknowledging "significant tension" in international relations in the wake of Pelosi's recent trip to Taiwan, Liberal MP Judy Sgro, chair of the Canada-Taiwan Friendship Group, defended the Canadian MPs' delegation's trip but said they would use "diplomacy" to demonstrate their support for the local Taiwanese government.
"I'm trying to be diplomatic in my comments, but clearly, I'm proud that Canada is also standing up to China. And I think that rejection is very important," she said.
Canadian Liberal MP John McKay, who has visited Taiwan several times under the friendship group's banner, said China's reaction to Pelosi's visit should not "in the least" deter Canada from following in her footsteps.
Pelosi's controversial visit conducted on the grounds that it was a mission to show U.S. support for Taiwan and democracies around the world infuriated China, which considers the island an integral part of its territory.
Calling the visit by the head of the U.S. lower house a serious violation of the one-China principle, Beijing responded by surrounding the island and conducting large-scale military live-fire exercises near Taiwan.
The fall visit by the friendship group would come at a time of heightened tensions between the Canadian and Chinese governments.