China’s military said it was conducting further drills near Taiwan on Monday when a group of U.S. lawmakers visited the island claimed by China and met President Tsai Ing-wen, who said her government is committed to maintaining stability.
The five U.S. lawmakers, led by Senator Ed Markey, arrived in Taipei late Sunday for an unannounced visit, the second high-level group to visit after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in early August, who met several Days on the way made Chinese war games.
The Chinese military unit in charge of the area bordering Taiwan, the People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command, said it organized joint combat readiness patrols and combat exercises with multiple services in the sea and airspace around Taiwan on Monday.
Days after Pelosi’s trip, more US lawmakers visit Taiwan
The drills are “a stern deterrent to the United States and Taiwan, which continue to play political tricks and undermine cross-strait peace and stability,” she added.
China’s Defense Ministry said in a separate statement that the lawmaker’s trip violated China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and “completely bared the true face of the United States as a spoiler and spoiler of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.”
“The Chinese People’s Liberation Army continues to train and prepare for war, resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and will resolutely crush any form of ‘Taiwan-independence’ separatism and foreign interference.”
The theater command said the drills took place near Taiwan’s Penghu Islands, which lie in the Taiwan Strait and is home to a major air force base, and showed close-up views of the islands captured by a Chinese air force plane.
“It’s not a price we’re going to pay,” says the US congressman when he hands over control to China after the trip to Taiwan
Meeting with lawmakers at her office, Tsai said China’s drills have greatly impacted peace and stability in the region.
“We are working closely with international allies to closely monitor the military situation. At the same time, we are doing everything we can to let the world know that Taiwan is committed to maintaining stability and the status quo across the Taiwan Strait,” she said in video footage provided by the presidential office.
Markey told Tsai that “we have a moral obligation” to do everything we can to prevent unnecessary conflict.
“Taiwan has shown incredible restraint and discretion in challenging times,” he added.
Taiwan’s defense ministry said 15 Chinese planes crossed the Taiwan Strait median line Monday, an unofficial barrier between the two, adding it condemned China’s new drills and would face them “calmly.”
Pelosi’s visit infuriated China, which responded with initial ballistic missile test launches over Taipei and dropped some lines of dialogue with Washington, including military talks in the theater and on climate change.
That trip was much more low-key than Pelosis’s, however, as Tsai’s meeting with lawmakers was not livestreamed on her social media pages, which is the common practice when visiting high-ranking foreign guests.
China’s military threat has not diminished, says Taiwan’s president
The group left Taiwan late Monday afternoon, and only after that did the Presidential Office release footage of the meeting with Tsai.
It wasn’t immediately clear where they were going.
The de facto US embassy in Taipei said it also met with Foreign Minister Joseph Wu and members of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee of Taiwan’s parliament.
“Authoritarian China cannot dictate how democratic Taiwan makes friends,” Wu said on Twitter of their meeting.
The United States has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but is required by law to provide the democratically-ruled island with the means of self-defense.
“We will not allow China to isolate Taiwan,” Nancy Pelosi said for the first time since her trip to Asia
China has never ruled out using force to take control of Taiwan. Taiwan’s government says the People’s Republic of China has never ruled the island and therefore has no right to claim it, and that only its 23 million residents can decide its future.
Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang said they would not be put off by China’s reaction to such visits from foreign friends.
“We can’t just do nothing because there’s a bad neighbor next door and don’t dare let visitors or friends come,” he told reporters.
https://globalnews.ca/news/9060408/china-taiwan-new-military-drills-us-visit/ China to hold new military drills near Taiwan during US lawmaker’s visit – National