CHICAGO (WLS) -- Northwest suburban Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi just returned from a high-stakes visit in Taiwan.
The Schaumburg democrat traveled with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a small delegation to Taiwan, Korea and Japan, where former Chicago mayor and now-Ambassador Rahm Emanuel rolled out the red carpet.
But this was no summer vacation, with the possibility of a Chinese takeover of Taiwan dominating the trip.
"We can't have a situation where the Chinese Communist Party militarily uses force against Taiwan the same way that Russia did in Ukraine. And so we have to bind together with our partners and allies and friends in the region to prevent that from happening," said Krishnamoorthi.
The Chinese have responded to the diplomatic visit with live drills including air force warplanes crisscrossing the sky and a threatening presence from submarines for five days that simulated a Chinese takeover of the island nation.
"Unfortunately, tensions have never been absent from that region. There have been live fire exercises long before we ever went to Taiwan. And of course, there have been since. I think this is reckless behavior. It's irresponsible of the Chinese Communist Party to do this. All that being said, if the cost of avoiding that behavior is to cede control of Taiwan, or to cede control of our travel schedule to the Chinese Communist Party, we are not going to pay that price," he said.
Between Krishnamoorthi's presence on a such a high-level and high-stress visit and the presence of Emmanuel as the top American diplomat in the region, Chicago seems to be at the pulse of the situation.
Emanuel, now ambassador to Japan, met with Pelosi who received a warm welcome and with the U.S. group that traveled for a short visit.
All of it has been happening as Chinese officials continue their pre-planned, well timed military exercises around Taiwan.
The out-manned and outgunned Taiwanese government put up its own defensive display, backed up by the group of US diplomats pledging to keep Taiwan a democracy.
"We cannot cower in the face of these bullying tactics. Bullies prey on fear, they prey on weakness. We have to be strong and we have to achieve peace through strength in this region. We can't have a situation where weakness invites more aggression, just the same way it did in Eastern Europe with Ukraine and Russia," said Krishnamoorthi.
Besides Taiwan and Tokyo, the congressional delegation, or CODEL as it's known on Capitol Hill, touched down in Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia and a fuel stop at Pearl Harbor.
Along the way, Krishnamoorthi noted that Chicago is apparent across American military bases with local airmen, soldiers and sailors from the city in the forefront, waiting on China's next move in Taiwan.