Indiana’s Republican governor began a visit to Taiwan on Monday, following two recent high-profile trips by US politicians that drew China’s ire and Chinese military drills that included firing missiles over the island.
Governor Eric Holcomb arrived on Sunday evening in Taiwan for a four-day visit that will focus on economic exchange particularly semiconductors, according to a statement from his office.
His visit is coming at a particularly tense moment for Taiwan, China and the US, after House speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan earlier this month. China claims self-ruled Taiwan as its own territory and views exchanges with foreign governments as an infringement on its claims.
In response to Ms Pelosi’s visit, China’s military held several days of exercises that included warplanes flying toward the island and warships sailing across the midline of the Taiwan Strait, an unofficial buffer between the island and mainland.
China also imposed visa bans and other sanctions on several Taiwanese political figures, though it’s unclear what effect the sanctions would have.
Holcomb will meet with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, along with representatives of the semiconductor industry, and is expected to promote academic and tech cooperation between Taiwan and the state of Indiana.
He is traveling with officials from the state’s economic development council, as well as the dean of engineering at Purdue University. He will visit South Korea next.