Canadian parliamentarians ‘hope’ to visit Taiwan in October
Members of the Parliament’s Canada-Taiwan Friendship Group could travel to the island as early as October, said the group’s chair, Liberal MP Judy Sgro.
A possible fall visit to Taiwan by Canadian MPs and senators would follow the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the island in early August.
In an email to CBC News, Sgro said the friendship group representatives « hope to visit in October. »
She did not provide additional information about the stated purpose of the visit or how many people are expected to make the trip.
Pelosi’s visit – which she described as a mission to show Washington’s support for Taiwan and democracies around the world – angered the Chinese government, which considers the self-governing island part of its territory.
Beijing responded to Pelosi’s visit by encircling the island and conducting live-fire military exercises near territorial waters claimed by Taiwan and Japan.
Previous iterations of the Canada-Taiwan Friendship Group have visited the island in the past, as recently as 2014. Individual MPs have also made trips to meet Taiwanese politicians for many years, drawing the ire of Beijing.
But a fall visit by the friendship group would come at a time of heightened tensions between the Canadian and Chinese governments.
Defense Minister Anita Anand said China’s decision to conduct military exercises after Pelosi’s visit was an « unnecessary escalation ».
“There is no justification for using a visit as a pretext for aggressive military activity in the Taiwan Strait,” Anand said.
China’s vice foreign minister has urged Canada to « immediately correct its mistakes » after the G7 condemned China’s actions.
Friendship groups only represent informal relationships
The Canada-Taiwan Friendship Group is one of dozens of so-called “friendship groups” on Parliament Hill. There were 89 members of the group in 2021, according to a statement released by the Taiwanese government.
The informal nature of friendship groups allows Members of Parliament and Senators to connect with a variety of governments and communities outside of formal government business.
Under the one-China policy adopted by the vast majority of the international community, Canada maintains only informal diplomatic relations with the Taiwanese government.
Other active friendship groups include the Canada-Palestine Parliamentary Friendship Group and the Canada-Uyghur Parliamentary Friendship Group.
Friendship groups receive no administrative or financial support from the Parliament of Canada.
A delegation of German parliamentarians is also due to travel to Taiwan the first week of October.