TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) – China announced more military exercises around Taiwan when the self-governing island’s president met members of a new US congressional delegation on Monday, threatening to renew tensions between Beijing and Washington just days after a similar visit from US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi angered 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. Beijing fired missiles over the island and into the Taiwan Strait, sending warplanes and naval ships 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.
“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 Taiwanese 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. The delegation “had the opportunity to exchange views with Taiwanese counterparts on a wide range of issues of concern to both the United States and Taiwan,” the institute said in a statement.
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 step up 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 said last week that China had used Pelosi’s visit as a pretext to launch a more intense pressure campaign against Taiwan, bringing peace and stability to the Taiwan Strait and the wider region. was endangered.
“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.
Aside from the geopolitical risks of escalating tensions between two world powers, 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 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine. In particular, Taiwan is a vital supplier of computer chips to the global economy, including China’s high-tech sectors.
This week’s five-member congressional delegation planned to meet with representatives from both the government and the private sector. Investments in Taiwan’s crucial semiconductor industry and easing tensions in the Taiwan Strait would be key topics of discussion.
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.