Angry China conducts more drills near Taiwan when US lawmakers visit

Angry China conducts more drills near Taiwan when US lawmakers visit

  • China holds drills near Taiwan while US lawmakers visit
  • China shares images of Taiwan’s strategically important Penghu Islands
  • President of Taiwan: committed to maintaining stability

BEIJING/TAIPEI, Aug 15 (Portal) – China’s military said it held further drills near Taiwan on Monday as 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 East Theater Command, said it organized joint combat readiness patrols and combat drills with multiple services in the sea and airspace around Taiwan on Monday.

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The exercises 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.

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 made available 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 difficult times,” he added.

Amphibious armored vehicles under the Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) take part in an assault wave formation exercise in Zhangzhou, Fujian province, China, August 14, 2022. cnsphoto via Portal

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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.”

UNOBTRUSIVE

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 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.

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.

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.

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Reporting by Ryan Woo and Ben Blanchard in Taipei; Edited by Himani Sarkar, Robert Birsel and Raissa Kasolowsky

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