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Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee countered decades of sensitive political terminology on Friday when she met Taiwanese officials and called the island an “independent nation,” in a move that is sure to shock China.

Blackburn, in a meeting with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and in a series of speeches online and in person, called Taiwan an independent entity. Official US government policy considers Taiwan to be part of the Chinese territory.

“We look forward to continuing to help and support Taiwan as it steps forward as an independent nation,” Blackburn told Tsai in a televised meeting.

Blackburn made a similar remark when he said, “I’m looking forward to a wonderful visit. And yes, I do indeed fondly remember my visit in 2008 and the opportunity to see part of your country first hand.”

SEN. BLACKBURN IN TAIWAN: CHINA’S “BULLYING” TACTICS MUST STOP, THE US MUST STOP THE CCP’S “AGGRESSION”

The People’s Republic of China it has long claimed sovereignty over Taiwan and the Taiwan Strait, the relatively narrow strip of ocean between the island of Taiwan and mainland China. The Chinese military has frequently sent aircraft to the area, testing Taiwan’s air defense zone. China considers Taiwan to be part of Chinese territory, while the island’s government rejects such claims and has operated as a self-governing democracy – officially known as the Republic of China – since 1949.

SEN. MARSHA BLACKBURN ARRIVES IN TAIWAN FOR A SURPRISE VISIT AFTER CALLING CHINA “NEW AXIS OF EVIL”

The United States has no official relations with Taiwan, also known as the Republic of China, and maintains a “One China” policy that recognizes the People’s Republic of China as a legitimate successor nation.

Senator Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Attends a meeting with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen at the presidential office in Taipei, Taiwan on Friday.
(Taiwan Presidential Office / Handout via REUTERS)

Beijing is demanding that countries seeking relations with China sever all formal ties with Taiwan, although the United States has continued informal ties with the island’s government.

“I just landed in Taiwan to send a message to Beijing: we will not be bullied,” the senator wrote online. “The United States remains steadfast in preserving freedom around the world and will not tolerate efforts to undermine our nation and our allies.”

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“One of the reasons I came to Taipei to have these conversations with Taiwanese leaders is because we can’t afford to let the Chinese Communist Party write world foreign policy,” Blackburn told his audience.

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