China announces new drills as US delegation visits Taiwan

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — China announced new military drills around Taiwan as the self-governing island’s president met with members of a new U.S. congressional delegation on Monday, threatening to reignite tensions between Beijing and Washington a few months later. just days after a similar visit to the United States House. Speaker Nancy Pelosi angry china.

Pelosi was the highest-ranking member of the US government to visit Taiwan in 25 years, and his trip sparked nearly two weeks of threats of military exercises by China, who claims the island as his own. In these previous exercises, Beijing fired missiles over the island and into the Taiwan Strait and sent war planes and navy ships across the center line of the waterway, which has long been a buffer between the sides that broke up amid the Civil War in 1949.

China accuses the United States of encouraging the island’s independence through arms sales and engagement between American politicians and the island’s government. Washington says it does not support independence, has no formal diplomatic relations with the island and argues the two sides should settle their dispute peacefully – but it is legally bound to ensure the island can defend itself against any attack.

“China will take resolute and strong measures to uphold national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a daily briefing on Monday, after Beijing announced new exercises in the seas and skies surrounding Taiwan. “A handful of American politicians, in collusion with separatist Taiwan independence forces, are trying to challenge the one-China principle, which is outdated and doomed to failure.”

The new exercises were to be “a resolute response and a solemn deterrent against collusion and provocation between the United States and Taiwan”, the Defense Ministry said earlier.

It was unclear if the new drills had already started since the ministry gave no details on where and when they would be conducted, unlike previous rounds.

US lawmakers, led by Democratic Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts, met with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu and lawmakers, according to the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto embassy in Washington on the island. The delegation “had the opportunity to exchange views with their Taiwanese counterparts on a wide range of issues important to both the United States and Taiwan,” the institute said in a statement.

China says it wants to use peaceful means to bring Taiwan under its control, but its recent swordplay has underscored its threat to take the island by military force. Previous exercises appeared to be a repeat of a blockade or attack on Taiwan that would force the cancellation of commercial flights and disrupt shipping to Taiwan’s main ports as well as cargo passing through the Taiwan Strait, one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.

The drills prompted Taiwan to put its military on high alert, but were widely met with defiance or apathy among the public accustomed to living in China’s shadow.

The “US visit at this time is of great significance, as the Chinese military exercise is (intended) to deter US congressmen from visiting Taiwan,” said Lo Chih-cheng, chairman of the Committee of the domestic and foreign defense of the Taiwan legislature. with US lawmakers.

“Their visit this time proves that China cannot stop politicians from any country from visiting Taiwan, and it also sends an important message that the American people stand with the Taiwanese people,” Lo said. .

A senior White House official on Asian policy said last week that China had used Pelosi’s visit as a pretext to launch an intensified pressure campaign against Taiwan, jeopardizing peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. and in the wider region.

“China has overreacted and its actions continue to be provocative, destabilizing and unprecedented,” Kurt Campbell, deputy aide to US President Joe Biden, said on a call with reporters on Friday.

Campbell said the United States would send warships and planes across the Taiwan Strait in the coming weeks and is developing a roadmap for trade negotiations with Taiwan which he said the United States had l intend to announce in the coming days.

Beyond the geopolitical risks of rising tensions between two world powers, a protracted crisis in the Taiwan Strait could have major implications for international supply chains at a time when the world is already facing disruption and uncertainty. following the coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine. In particular, Taiwan is a crucial supplier of computer chips to the global economy, including China’s high-tech sectors.

The five-member congressional delegation this week plans to meet with government and private sector officials. Investing in Taiwan’s crucial semiconductor industry and reducing tensions in the Taiwan Strait were expected to be the main talking points.

Other members of the delegation are Republican Representative Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen, a delegate from American Samoa, and Democrats John Garamendi and Alan Lowenthal of California and Don Beyer of Virginia.

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