Taipei, Taiwan — China announced more military exercises around Taiwan when the president of the self-governing island met on Monday with members of a new US congressional delegation, which threatened to renew tensions between Beijing and Washington after a similar recent visit by the US House Speaker. Nancy Pelosi, who infuriated China.
Pelosi was the most senior member of the US government to visit Taiwan in 25 years, and her trip led to nearly two weeks of impending military exercises by China, which claims the island as its own. During those exercises, Beijing fired missiles over the island and into the Taiwan Strait, sending warplanes and naval vessels across the centerline of the waterway, which had long served as a buffer between the parties that split during the Civil War in 1949.
China accuses the US of encouraging the island’s independence through arms sales and alliances between US politicians and the island’s government. Washington says it does not support independence, has no formal diplomatic ties with the island and insists that the two sides must resolve their dispute peacefully, but is required by law to ensure that the island can defend itself against any attack.
US and Taiwanese officials have accused China of using Pelosi’s visit as a pretext for intimidating actions, and a senior US official recently said Washington will continue to deepen its ties with Taiwan in the coming days and weeks.
The latest trip kicked off on Sunday with little advance notice — drawing more anger from China. The delegation was due to leave late on Monday.
“China will take resolute and firm measures to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Wang Wenbin, the spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, said at a daily briefing Monday after Beijing announced new exercises in the seas and skies. around Taiwan. “A handful of American politicians, in collusion with the separatist forces of Taiwan’s independence, are trying to challenge the one-China principle, which is at its core and doomed to fail.”
The new exercises were intended as a “resolute response and solemn deterrent to US-Taiwan collusion and provocation,” the Defense Department said earlier.
It was not clear whether the new drills had already started, as the ministry did not provide details on where and when they would be held, unlike previous rounds.
US lawmakers, led by Democratic Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, met with President Tsai Ing-wen, Secretary of State Joseph Wu and lawmakers, according to the American Institute in Taiwan, Washington’s de facto embassy on the island.
During their meeting, Tsai said her government was working with allies to ensure stability in the Taiwan Strait and maintain the status quo — a reference to the island’s self-government separate from Beijing.
“The Russian invasion of Ukraine earlier this year has demonstrated the threat that authoritarian nations pose to world order,” Tsai said.
Markey responded by saying that Washington and Taipei had a “moral obligation to do everything we can to avoid unnecessary conflict and Taiwan has shown incredible restraint and discretion in difficult times.”
The senator also pointed to legislation intended to strengthen political and economic ties with Taiwan, particularly in the critical semiconductor industry. Taiwan is a critical supplier of computer chips to the global economy, including China’s high-tech sectors, and aside from the geopolitical risks of mounting tensions in the region, a prolonged crisis in the Taiwan Strait could have major implications for international supply chains at a time. when the world is already dealing with disruptions and uncertainty.
Markey is one of the few members of Congress still in office who voted in favor of the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, which ensured continued relations with the island after US diplomatic recognition passed from Taipei to Beijing. The other members of the delegation are Republican delegate Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen, a delegate from American Samoa, and Democrats John Garamendi and Alan Lowenthal from California and Don Beyer from Virginia.
China says it wants to use peaceful means to take control of Taiwan, but the recent chatter of the saber has emphasized its threat to take the island by military force. The earlier 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 major ports, as well as cargo moving through the Taiwan Strait, one of the world’s busiest shipping routes.
The exercises prompted Taiwan to sharpen its military, but met with resistance or apathy from the public accustomed to living in China’s shadow.
The US “visit is of great importance at this time because the Chinese military exercise is (intended) to deter US congressmen from visiting Taiwan,” said Lo Chih-cheng, the chairman of the Taiwanese Foreign and National Defense Committee. legislator, after his meeting. with US lawmakers.
“Their visit this time proves that China cannot stop politicians from any country from visiting Taiwan, and it also conveys an important message that the American people stand behind the Taiwanese people,” Lo said.
A senior White House official on Asia policy last week said China had used Pelosi’s visit as an excuse to launch a more intense pressure campaign against Taiwan.
“China has overreacted and its actions remain provocative, destabilizing and unprecedented,” Kurt Campbell, a deputy aide to US President Joe Biden, said during a phone call with reporters on Friday.
Campbell said the US would send warships and planes through the Taiwan Strait in the coming weeks and is working on a roadmap for trade talks with Taiwan, which the US says the US will announce in the coming days.
Copyright 2022 ABC NEWS. All rights reserved.
Follow WT LOCAL on Social Media for the Latest News and Updates.
Share this news on your Facebook,Twitter and Whatsapp.