China announced more military exercises around Taiwan as the island’s president met with members of a new US congressional delegation on Monday, another sign of support among US lawmakers for Beijing, the self-ruled island.

Taiwanese media showed the delegation arriving for talks, but details of the meeting were not immediately released. The delegation was to depart later on Monday by a US government aircraft.

The visit comes less than two weeks after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan threatened days of military exercises, including the firing of missiles by China on the island and in the Taiwan Strait. Pelosi is the highest level member of the US government to visit Taiwan in the past 25 years.

China also sent warplanes and naval ships to the middle of the waterway, which has long been a buffer between the sides that broke away in the midst of the civil war in 1949. China regards formal contacts between American politicians and the island’s government as support for its independence from Beijing.

China’s People’s Liberation Army on Monday announced additional exercises in the sea and skies around Taiwan, the Defense Ministry and its Eastern Theater Command announced in a statement.

The ministry said the aim of the exercise is a “firm response and serious deterrence against collusion and provocation between the US and Taiwan”.

China’s threatening drills over the past two weeks prompted Taiwan to put its military on alert, but faced widespread defiance and apathy among the public.

In Taiwan’s capital Taipei, Lo, Chih-cheng, chairman of the legislature’s Foreign and National Defense Committee, met with US lawmakers and said that, “His visit is very important at this time, as the Chinese military exercise is (intended) to give American congressmen To stop going to Taiwan.”

“His visit this time proves that China cannot prevent politicians from any country from traveling to Taiwan, and it also sends an important message that the American people stand with the people of Taiwan,” Lo said.

China says it wants to use peaceful means to bring Taiwan under its control, but its recent saber rattle has accentuated its threat to capture the island by military force. The earlier exercises were designed as a rehearsal for a blockade or attack on Taiwan, the cancellation of commercial flights and cargo passing through Taiwan’s main ports as well as the Taiwan Strait, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. Shipping was forced to abort.

The five-member congressional delegation is led by Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts and is to meet with other government and private sector representatives. Investment in Taiwan’s critical semiconductor industry and easing tensions in the Taiwan Strait are expected to be major topics of discussion.

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

A senior White House official on Asia policy said last week that China had used Pelosi’s visit to launch an intense pressure campaign against Taiwan, threatening peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits and the wider region. went.

“China has overreacted, and its actions remain provocative, unstable and unprecedented,” Kurt Campbell, a deputy assistant to President Joe Biden, told reporters.

“It has sought to disregard the center line between the PRC and Taiwan, which has been respected by both sides for more than 60 years as a stable feature,” he said for China’s official name, the People’s Republic of China. Said using the abbreviation.

China accused the US of encouraging independence forces in Taiwan through the sale of military equipment and negotiations with its officials. The US says it does not support Taiwan’s independence but that its differences with China should be resolved peacefully.

China’s ruling Communist Party has long said it supports Taiwan’s peaceful annexation to China, but will not rule out force if necessary. The two parted ways in 1949 during a civil war in which the Communists took control of China and the losing Nationalists withdrew from Taiwan.

Campbell, speaking on Friday, said the US would send warships and aircraft through the Taiwan Strait over the next few weeks and was developing a roadmap for trade talks with Taiwan that he said the US intended to announce in the coming days. Is.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *