The war games come in response to a US congressional delegation’s visit to the self-governing island
China’s People’s Liberation Army has deployed its navy and warplanes across the Taiwan Strait in new drills near the island Beijing claims as its own. The latest show of force is meant to be a “deterrent force for the United Statesafter a group of five US lawmakers visited the island.
In a statement on Monday, the Chinese military’s Eastern Theater Command said it had conducted multi-service joint combat readiness patrols and sea and air combat drills near Taiwan.
The drills took place near Taiwan’s Penghu Islands, home to a major airbase.
Beijing shared images of the island taken by military aircraft.
Chinese military officials insisted that by allowing lawmakers to visit the island, the United States was effectively infringing on China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. They accused Washington of threatening “peace and stability in the taiwan strait” with his “cheap political stuff.”
The Chinese military added that it “continues to train and prepare for war…and will resolutely crush all forms of “Taiwan independence” separatism and foreign interference.”
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry has confirmed that 15 Chinese military aircraft crossed the unofficial border into the Taiwan Strait.
Meanwhile, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office warned Taiwan leaders that they would be “severely punished“unless they”were holding back.”
Late Sunday, a US congressional delegation consisting of four Democrats and one Republican arrived on the self-governing island. A representative for Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), who led the delegation, said the group’s visit was to “reaffirm US support for Taiwan” as well as “encourage stability and peace across the Taiwan Strait.”
On the heels of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s controversial visit to Taiwan on August 2, the most recent trip was much more low-key, as several media outlets have pointed out.
There was no live broadcast of the lawmakers’ meeting with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and other senior officials, and footage was released only after members of Congress left the meeting. island on Monday afternoon.
It was Pelosi’s visit that precipitated a plunge in already strained relations between Washington and Beijing. The House Speaker’s move to Taipei came despite repeated protests and warnings from China, which considered such a visit a violation of the “one China” principle.
In response, Chinese leaders launched “unprecedented» military exercises in the Taiwan Strait, which included the firing of ballistic missiles. Additionally, China has suspended all trade relations with Taiwan and severed or downgraded diplomatic relations with the United States on a number of key issues, including climate change, maritime security and areas of military cooperation.
China regards Taiwan as an inalienable part of its territory. However, since 1949 it has been de facto independent after the losers of the Chinese Civil War – the Nationalists – fled to the island and established their own administration there. Taiwan is officially recognized by just over a dozen nations, although the United States is not one of them. However, Taipei has long had a close unofficial relationship with Washington, and US lawmakers and officials visit the island regularly. Yet visits by more prominent American figures are seen in Beijing as tacit endorsements of Taiwanese independence.