China holds more military drills as US lawmakers meet Taiwanese president
A group of five American lawmakers, led by Senator Edward Markey met President Tsai Ing-wen on Monday, triggering angry protests from Beijing, which called the visit ‘an infringement of its sovereignty’
BEIJING: China has carried out fresh military drills near self-governed Taiwan in response to the ongoing visit of US lawmakers to the island as high tension, sparked earlier this month by the visit of US House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, to Taipei, continues in the Taiwan Strait.
A group of five American lawmakers, led by Senator Edward Markey, arrived in Taipei late on Sunday, and met President Tsai Ing-wen on Monday, triggering angry protests from Beijing, which called the visit “an infringement of its sovereignty”.
China claims Taiwan as part of its territory and says official ties between the island and another country is a violation of the mainland’s sovereignty.
The People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) eastern theatre command said it had organised multi-service joint combat readiness patrols and combat drills in the sea and airspace around Taiwan on Monday.
The command had carried out the largest ever Chinese military exercise around Taiwan in response to Pelosi’s visit, firing missiles and deploying jets and warships, which concluded only last week.
The new exercises are “a solemn deterrent to political plays by the US and Taiwan that are undermining the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait”, Senior Colonel Shi Yi of the command was quoted as saying on the command’s official Twitter-like Weibo account.
“We will take all necessary measures and resolutely defend national sovereignty and the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait,” the statement quoted Shi as saying.
Taiwan’s defence ministry said that Chinese drills had already begun on Sunday.
“At least 22 Chinese military aircraft and six naval vessels infringed on Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ) on Sunday itself with 10 warplanes crossing the median line,” the news website, Taiwannews.com reported.
Reacting to the visit, the Chinese foreign ministry said in Beijing it would take strong measures to safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity following the visit of the US delegation.
The delegation “overestimated themselves and attempted to challenge the one-China principle”, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Monday.
Their efforts were “doomed to fail”, he added.
“The visit blatantly violated the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, violated China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and sent a serious wrong signal to the ‘Taiwan Independence’ forces,” CGTN, China’s official English channel quoted Wang as saying.
“The one-China principle is also the political foundation for the establishment of diplomatic ties and the growth of China-U.S. relations,” Wang said.
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office separately warned Taiwan’s leaders that they would be “severely punished” if they continued to provoke Beijing.