A Chat in Taipei with U.S. Representative Ami Bera


On Saturday China announced that it was preparing three days of military exercises around Taiwan following Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文 Cài Yīngwén) meeting with U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

The announcement came as a bipartisan House delegation led by Foreign Affairs Committee chair Michael McCaul was wrapping up with a three-day visit to Taipei. The delegation met with Taiwanese legislators from both main parties as well as business and tech leaders, with a Saturday afternoon meeting scheduled with Tsai.

Representative Ami Bera (D, California) is the ranking Democrat on both the Taiwan delegation and the House’s Indo-Pacific subcommittee that oversees Taiwan and cross-strait matters. Bera sat down Saturday morning in Taipei with The China Project to discuss how things have gone for the delegation, which he said was not caught off-guard by Beijing’s announcement.

“We expected that they would do something, I think it’s par for the course” Bera said.

The maintaining of the cross-strait status quo, in which Taiwan is effectively an independent country, has underpinned peace and stability in the region for decades, he said, adding that China has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of that peace and stability.

“Why would we want to change that dynamic and change that future trajectory?” he asked. “Look at Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine — how’s that working out for Russia? I’d say not very well.”

Bera was on his third trip to Taiwan, and first since the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“I was in Kyiv a few weeks before the Russian invasion, and there it was a little more tense, but even there, there was a sense that life was moving along,” he said. “You don’t feel a heaviness here — certainly the meetings are a little bit different than before.”

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