China announces new drills as US delegation visits Taiwan China announced more military drills around Taiwan as the self-governing island’s president met with members of a new U.S. congressional delegation on Monday, threatening to renew tensions between Beijing and Washington after a similar recent visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi angered China.
Pelosi was the highest-level member of the U.S. government to visit Taiwan in 25 years, and her trip prompted nearly two weeks of threatening military exercises by China, which claims the island as its own. In those drills, Beijing fired missiles over the island and into the Taiwan Strait and sent warplanes and navy ships across the waterway’s midline, which has long been a buffer between the sides that split amid civil war in 1949. The latest trip began Sunday with little notice ahead of time.
The delegation was due to leave late Monday. China accuses the U.S. of encouraging the island’s independence through the sale of weapons and engagement between U.S. politicians and the island’s government. Washington says it does not support independence, has no formal diplomatic ties with the island and maintains that the two sides should settle their dispute peacefully — but it is legally bound to ensure the island can defend itself against any attack.
“China will take resolute and strong measures to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a daily briefing Monday, after Beijing announced new drills in the seas and skies surrounding Taiwan. “A handful of U.S. politicians, in collusion with the separatist forces of Taiwan independence, are trying to challenge the one-China principle, which is out of their depth and doomed to failure.
“The new exercises were intended to be “resolute response and solemn deterrent against collusion and provocation between the U.S. and Taiwan,” the Defense Ministry said earlier. It was not clear if the new drills had already started since the ministry gave no details about where and when they would be conducted, in contrast to previous rounds. The U.S. lawmakers, led by Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, met with President Tsai Ing-wen, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu and legislators, according to the American Institute in Taiwan, Washington’s de facto embassy on the island.
At their meeting, Tsai said her administration was working with allies to ensure stability in the Taiwan Strait and maintain the status quo — a reference to the island’s self-governance, separate from Beijing. “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year has shown the threat that authoritarian nations pose to the global order,” Tsai said.
Markey responded by saying Washington and Taipei had a “moral obligation to do everything we can to prevent an unnecessary conflict and Taiwan has demonstrated incredible restraint and discretion during challenging times.” The senator also highlighted legislation intended to boost political and economic ties with Taiwan, especially in the critical semiconductor industry. Taiwan is a crucial provider of computer chips for the global economy, including China’s high-tech sectors, and beyond the geopolitical risks of rising tensions in the region, an extended crisis in the Taiwan Strait could have major implications for international supply chains at a time when the world is already facing disruptions and uncertainty. /AP