US officials arrive at Songshan airport in Taipei, Taiwan on Wednesday. (REUTERS)
US officials arrive at Songshan airport in Taipei, Taiwan on Wednesday. (REUTERS)

China holds drills as US delegation arrives in Taiwan

Former US senator Chris Dodd and former deputy secretaries of state Richard Armitage and James Steinberg reportedly arrived in Taiwan on Wednesday in an unmarked private jet in what a White House official called a “personal signal” of US President Joe Biden’s commitment to Taiwan.
By Sutirtho Patranobis, Beijing
UPDATED ON APR 15, 2021 04:32 AM IST

hina on Wednesday described the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) exercises near self-ruled Taiwan as “combat drills”, on a day former US officials arrived in Taipei symbolising Washington’s commitment to the island that Beijing considers a breakaway region.

Former US senator Chris Dodd and former deputy secretaries of state Richard Armitage and James Steinberg reportedly arrived in Taiwan on Wednesday in an unmarked private jet in what a White House official called a “personal signal” of US President Joe Biden’s commitment to Taiwan.

The former US officials will meet Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Thursday.

In Beijing, China’s Taiwan affairs office said Taiwan’s government and separatists were colluding with “external forces”.

“The PLA’s organising of actual combat exercises in the Taiwan Strait is a necessary action to address the current security situation in the Taiwan Strait and to safeguard national sovereignty,” said Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesperson of the office.

“It is a solemn response to external forces’ interference and provocations by Taiwan independence” forces, he added.

Kerry’s Shanghai visit

US climate envoy John Kerry was set to arrive in Shanghai on Wednesday on a four-day trip, as the two countries seek cooperation over the environment. It is the first trip to China by a Biden administration official.

His trip comes in preparation for Biden’s virtual climate summit next week, to which the US leader has invited Chinese President Xi Jinping.

With inputs from agencies

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