WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) is back in the U.S after his trip to Asia. He says his recent trip to Taiwan was the right thing to do.

“We must continue to stand up for free speech, human rights, and political and civil rights,” Markey said.

Markey called the negative response from the Chinese government, which included increased military tests near the island, an overreaction.

“We made it very clear that our goal was to attempt to maintain peaceful relations between Taiwan and China to ensure that we put policies in place,” Markey said.

He says the U.S is focused on working with its partners in the region to promote clean energy and climate action, while also strengthening Taiwan.

“So that they can try to maintain this peaceful relationship across the straits,” Markey said.

Markey visited with leaders in not only Taiwan, but also in South Korea, Cambodia and the Philippines.

“I discussed with leaders how we can work together to champion universal values across the region,” Markey said.

State Department Spokesperson Ned Price says it’s a region the U.S. is closely monitoring.

“It is our goal to defend, to preserve stability across the Taiwan strait, to preserve the status quo,” Price said.

But both Markey and Price said that stability benefits everyone in the region.