China holds drills, trains soldiers as US lawmakers visit Taiwan
By Anadolu Agency
ANKARA (AA) - The Chinese military on Monday launched military exercises around Taiwan after a delegation of US lawmakers landed in the self-ruled island on an unannounced visit.
"This is a deterrence act toward the US and Taiwan, who are sabotaging cross-Straits stability," Chinese daily Global Times quoted Senior Colonel Shi Yi as saying.
Wu Qian, China's Defense Ministry spokesperson, said the army "will continue to train soldiers and get prepared for war" to resolutely safeguard China's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
"... will resolutely crush any form of attempt for 'Taiwan independence' by secessionists or foreign interference," Wu said, adding the trip to Taiwan by American lawmakers "blatantly violates the one-China principle."
The delegation of US lawmakers arrived in Taiwan on Sunday evening on a two-day visit that is likely to further escalate tensions with China.
The delegation is led by Senator Ed Markey and includes four House lawmakers.
The delegation met Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen early on Monday where the two sides have reportedly discussed cooperation on security and supply chains. Joseph Wu, the Taiwanese foreign minister, also hosted the delegation.
"Authoritarian China can't dictate how democratic Taiwan makes friends, wins support, stays resilient and shines like a beacon of freedom," Joseph tweeted after hosting the delegation.
A furious Beijing, which views Taiwan as a “breakaway province,” launched massive military drills around the self-ruled island after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei earlier this month.
In a tweet, Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry thanked “the like-minded US lawmakers for the timely visit & unwavering support.”
China is yet to comment on the visit.
Apart from its show of military might around Taiwan, Beijing sanctioned Pelosi, downgraded military dialogue with the US and suspended cooperation on climate change issues, along with six other countermeasures.
Earlier this week, Beijing also sanctioned Agne Vaiciukeviciute, Lithuania’s deputy minister of transport and communications, for her “egregious and provocative” recent trip to Taiwan.