US parliamentarians in Taiwan, China relaunches its maneuvers

China announced on Monday that it has organized new military exercises around Taiwan, where five American parliamentarians are visiting, two weeks after the visit of Nancy Pelosi who triggered Beijing’s anger.

“The People’s Liberation Army held a joint combat readiness patrol and combat drills in the sea and airspace around Taiwan”the Eastern Command of the Chinese army said on Monday.

The US delegation, whose visit had not been announced, arrived in Taipei on Sunday evening and met the island’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, on Monday before a reception at the Foreign Ministry.

“China will take firm and vigorous measures to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity”a spokesman for Chinese diplomacy, Wang Wenbin, told the press on Monday.

The two-day trip focuses on trade, regional security and climate change, according to the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto US embassy on the island.

It comes less than two weeks after the visit of the speaker of the American House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, on this island claimed by the Chinese authorities.

China then reacted angrily and launched the most important military maneuvers in its history around Taiwan: for five days, the army deployed warships, missiles and fighter planes, simulating a blockade of the island.

“Solemn Deterrence”

Taipei has accused China of using Ms Pelosi’s visit as a pretext to practice an invasion.

The new maneuvers Monday constitute “a solemn deterrent against the United States and Taiwan” which “undermine peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait”, said in a press release the spokesman of the Eastern Command of the Chinese army, Shi Yi.

the army “train and prepare for battle”said the spokesperson, using a vocabulary already used by Beijing.

The US delegation is made up of Senator Ed Markey (Massachusetts, Democrat) and Representatives Alan Lowenthal (California, Democrat), John Garamendi (California, Democrat), Don Beyer (Virginia, Democrat) and Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (Samoa, republican).

Taipei wants “the status quo and stability in the Taiwan Strait” as well as in Asia-Pacific, leader Tsai Ing-wen told them, according to a statement from the island’s presidency.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine demonstrates “the threat that authoritarian states pose to the world order”, Tsai stressed, while thanking Washington for its support in the face of Chinese threats.

22 aircraft and six ships

China considers Taiwan, with a population of around 23 million, to be one of its provinces, which it has yet to successfully reunify with the rest of its territory since the end of the Chinese Civil War ( 1949).

Opposed to any initiative giving the Taiwanese authorities international legitimacy, Beijing is against any official contact between Taiwan and other countries.

US officials visit the island frequently, but China deemed the visit of Ms Pelosi, the highest US official to visit the island in decades, a major provocation.

Faced with the maneuvers launched by Beijing in retaliation, Taiwan has organized its own exercises simulating the organization of its defense against a Chinese invasion.

And the United States reaffirmed its commitment to the region.

Beijing has warned that it will continue to patrol the Taiwan Strait.

On Sunday, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said it detected 22 Chinese aircraft and six ships operating near the strait. According to him, 11 planes crossed the middle line, an unofficial demarcation between Taiwan and China that Beijing does not recognize.


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