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TAIPEI, Taiwan — Weapons that Taiwan has ordered from the U.S. are coming, a senior U.S. lawmaker said Monday, as a bipartisan House delegation met with the Beijing-claimed island’s new president.

Taiwan, a self-ruling democracy that rejects China’s sovereignty claims, has complained of delays in the delivery of U.S. weapons seen as crucial in defending it against potential invasion by Beijing, which has not ruled out using force in achieving its aims.

“We are moving forward on those weapons systems,” Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said at a news conference in Taipei after he and other lawmakers met with Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te. “I’d like to see them faster, but they are forthcoming.”

McCaul said the weapons’ importance was underscored by the “armada” of Chinese ships and planes that engaged in “punishment” drills around Taiwan last week in response to Lai’s inauguration speech. In that speech, Lai, the former vice president, called on China to cease its threats and “face the reality” of Taiwan’s existence.

In translated remarks before his closed-door meeting with the lawmakers, Lai said the delegation’s visit “demonstrates your firm support for the new government as well as the people of Taiwan.”

Though the U.S. has no formal relations with Taiwan, it is the island’s most important international backer.

Last month, Congress passed an aid package that included almost $2 billion in support for Taiwan’s military, an investment McCaul argues is crucial for keeping peace in the region and making China question the value in attacking its neighbor.

“We have to demonstrate that the consequences would be way too severe, the risks would outweigh the advantages,” McCaul said in an interview Monday.

“The first thing is we’ve got to get these weapons in,” he said.

Speaking at the news conference, Taiwan Foreign Minister Lin Chia-lung told the U.S. lawmakers that the joint military exercises last week were China’s “way of welcoming this delegation” and that “your visit in this critical time is a powerful gesture.”

In recent years China has been stepping up military and other pressure on Taiwan, including sending military planes and ships toward it almost daily. On Monday, the Taiwan National Defense Ministry said that as of 6 a.m. local time it had detected 21 Chinese military aircraft, 11 Chinese naval vessels and four Chinese coast guard vessels around the island in the previous 24 hours.

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