Angry China holds more drills near Taiwan as US lawmakers visit

  • China holds drills near Taiwan as U.S. lawmakers visit
  • China shows images of strategic Penghu islands in Taiwan
  • President of Taiwan: Determined to Maintain Stability

BEIJING/TAIPEI, Aug 15 (Reuters) – China’s military said it carried out more drills near Taiwan on Monday as a group of U.S. lawmakers visited the Chinese-claimed island and met President Tsai Ing-wen, who said his government was committed to maintaining stability.

The five US lawmakers, led by Senator Ed Markey, arrived in Taipei for an unannounced visit on Sunday evening, the second high-level group to visit after that of US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi in early August, which sparked several days of Chinese War Games.

China’s military unit responsible for the area adjacent to Taiwan, the People’s Liberation Army Eastern Theater Command, said it held joint combat readiness patrols and combat drills in the sea and sea on Monday. the airspace around Taiwan.

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The drills were “a stern deterrent to the United States and Taiwan as they continue to play political tricks and undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” he added.

China’s Defense Ministry said in a separate statement that the lawmakers’ trip undermines China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and “fully exposes the true face of the United States as a mess and a mess of the peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait”.

“The Chinese People’s Liberation Army continues to train and prepare for war, resolutely uphold national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and will resolutely crush all forms of separatism and foreign interference in “independence of Taiwan”.

The theater command said the drills took place near Taiwan’s Penghu Islands, which are in the Taiwan Strait and are home to a major airbase, and showed close-up video of the islands taken by a plane from the Chinese Air Force.

Tsai, meeting with lawmakers in his office, said China’s drills had greatly affected regional peace and stability.

“We are engaging in close cooperation 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 safeguarding stability and the status quo in the Strait. of Taiwan,” she added. said, in video footage provided by the presidential office.

Markey told Tsai that “we have a moral obligation” to do everything to avoid unnecessary conflict.

“Taiwan has shown incredible restraint and discretion in these difficult times,” he added.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said 15 Chinese planes crossed the middle line of the Taiwan Strait, an unofficial barrier between the two, on Monday, adding it condemned the new Chinese drills and would confront them “calmly”.


Pelosi’s visit infuriated China, which responded for the first time with ballistic missile test launches over Taipei, and abandoned some lines of dialogue with Washington, including military talks in theater and on climate change.

However, that trip was much more low-key than Pelosi’s, with Tsai’s meeting with lawmakers not livestreamed on his social media pages, which is the general practice when high profile foreign guests come.

The group left Taiwan late Monday afternoon, only after the presidential office released footage of the encounter with Tsai.

It was not 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 Taiwanese parliament’s foreign affairs and defense committee.

“Authoritarian China cannot dictate how democratic Taiwan makes friends,” Wu said on Twitter of their meeting.

The United States does not have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but is required by law to provide the democratically governed island with the means to defend itself.

China has never ruled out using force to bring Taiwan under its control. 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 people can decide their future.

Taiwanese Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang said he would not be discouraged by China’s response to such visits from foreign friends.

“We can’t just do nothing because there’s an evil neighbor next door, and not dare to let visitors or friends come,” he told reporters.

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

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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