China announced Monday that it has organized new military exercises around Taiwan, where five American parliamentarians are visiting, two weeks after the arrival of Nancy Pelosi who had already angered Beijing. “On August 15, the Eastern Theater of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army held a multi-service joint combat readiness patrol and combat drills in the sea and airspace around Taiwan,” the statement said. Chinese military in a statement. The US delegation, whose visit had not been announced, arrived in Taipei on Sunday evening and was due to meet the island’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, on Monday, before a reception organized at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
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 US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island claimed by 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.
Taipei has accused China of using Nancy Pelosi’s visit as an excuse to practice an invasion. In response, the United States reaffirmed its commitment to the region. This time again, Beijing strongly criticized the visit of the parliamentarians. “US politicians should stop playing with fire on the Taiwan issue,” commented the official Xinhua news agency. The new maneuvers are “a solemn deterrent against the United States and Taiwan which continue to play political tricks and undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait”, said Shi Yi, spokesperson for the Theater Command. of the Chinese army, in a press release, promising to “resolutely defend national sovereignty”.
The US lawmakers – a senator and four representatives, Democrats and a Republican – will also meet with Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, according to the Taiwanese Foreign Ministry. Joseph Wu welcomed the visit in a statement: “As China continues to escalate tensions in the region, the US Congress has again sent a high-level delegation to Taiwan, demonstrating a friendship that is not afraid. by China’s threats and underscores the United States’ strong support for Taiwan.”
Members of the delegation are Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey and Representatives Alan Lowenthal (California, Democrat), John Garamendi (California, Democrat), Don Beyer (Virginia, Democrat) and Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (Samoa, Republican), a specified the American Institute.
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 Nancy Pelosi, the highest US official to visit the island in decades, a major provocation.
Faced with the maneuvers launched by Beijing in retaliation, Taiwan had organized its own exercises simulating the organization of its defense against a Chinese invasion. Beijing only ended its drills after it reiterated its threats to Taipei and said it would continue to patrol the Taiwan Strait.
In its daily update, the Taiwanese Ministry of Defense said on Sunday that it had detected 22 planes and six Chinese ships operating near the strait. 11 of the planes crossed the middle line, an unofficial demarcation between Taiwan and China that Beijing does not recognize.