China 'overreacting' to peaceful visits to Taiwan: U.S. official

08/16/2022 12:15 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Washington, Aug. 15 (CNA) The United States on Monday condemned as an "overreaction" China's restart of live-fire exercises around Taiwan the same day that American lawmakers visited Taipei.

China conducted drills in the sea and airspace around Taiwan on Monday, according to China's People's Liberation Army, when a five-member U.S. delegation led by Senator Ed Markey was in Taipei on the last day of a 21-hour visit.

The visit that began Sunday came 12 days after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and five U.S. House of Representatives landed in Taipei on Aug. 2 for a 19-hour visit, which China responded to with nearly a week of intensive military drills encircling Taiwan.

Asked to comment on Beijing's response to Markey's visit at a news briefing Monday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said any response to a peaceful visit "that entails bellicose rhetoric or military maneuvers or provocative actions is totally unnecessary and an absolute overreaction."

Members of Congress have gone to Taiwan for decades, with some 10 or more congressional delegations having visited Taiwan this year alone, and they will continue to do so, Price said, adding that the practice is in line with the U.S.'s longstanding "one China" policy.

The U.S. has taken measured and responsible steps in response to Beijing's maneuvers so as not to escalate the situation, Price said, but "we won't be deterred from flying, from sailing, from operating in the region in accordance with international law."

U.S. President Joe Biden directed Friday that the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, operating in the Philippines, remain on station longer and announced that additional steps would be forthcoming in support of Taiwan, Price said.

Meanwhile, in a statement released Monday, Markey said his delegation was committed to continuing to build the relationship between the U.S. and Taiwan.

"Consistent with our commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act, the United States must continue to support Taiwan's meaningful participation in the international community and help Taiwan withstand cross-Strait coercion," he said.

China's military described Markey's visit to Taiwan as an infringement of its sovereignty, and said its exercises were "a stern deterrent" to the U.S. and Taiwan continuing to play political tricks and undermining cross-Taiwan Strait peace and stability.

(By Stacy Hsu and Shih Hsiu-chuan)

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