China using U.S. lawmakers' visit as excuse for latest drill: Taiwan

08/16/2022 03:37 PM
To activate the text-to-speech service, please first agree to the privacy policy below.
U.S. Senator Ed Markey (front, left) chats with President Tsai Ing-wen during his visit to Taipei on Monday. Photo courtesy of Presidential Office
U.S. Senator Ed Markey (front, left) chats with President Tsai Ing-wen during his visit to Taipei on Monday. Photo courtesy of Presidential Office

Taipei, Aug. 16 (CNA) Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Tuesday that the recent visit to Taiwan by a United States congressional delegation was being used by China as a pretext to stage a new round of live-fire military exercises near Taiwan.

MOFA spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said visits to Taiwan by foreign congress members have been part of the routine exchanges among democratic countries for decades.

The visit to Taipei by American Senator Ed Markey and his delegation over the past two days was being used by China as an excuse to launch its latest military drills, Ou said.

Beijing's actions in that regard are "ridiculous" and "barbaric," she said. "Taiwan strongly condemns China's extremely irresponsible behavior."

China's latest live-fire military exercises are seen likely to further destabilize regional peace and disrupt one of the busiest air and shipping routes in the Indo-Pacific region.

Ou said democratic countries around the world should all condemn China's actions.

On Monday, hours after Markey and his bipartisan congressional delegation arrived in Taipei, the Chinese military said it was resuming exercises near Taiwan in response to what Beijing described as an infringement of its sovereignty.

The 21-hour visit that began late Sunday came 12 days after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and five other House members landed in Taipei on Aug. 2 for a 19-hour visit, which China responded to with nearly a week of intensive military drills that encircled Taiwan.

The new exercises that began Monday involved joint combat readiness patrols and combat drills at sea and in the airspace around Taiwan, the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) Eastern Theatre Command said, but it did not give the exact locations.

Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense said that as of 5 p.m. Monday, China had deployed 30 warplanes and five military vessels in areas around Taiwan, and 15 of the aircraft had crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait.

For decades, the median line was observed as an unofficial border between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, but China has been breaching that line over the past two years, which analysts have interpreted as a more aggressive approach to the Taiwan issue.

When asked to comment on China's latest exercises, Taiwan's military spokesman Sun Li-fang (孫立方) said Taiwan's armed forces are fully aware of the PLA's deployments at sea and in the air around Taiwan and will take "appropriate responsive measures."

"The Chinese communist party's daily military provocation only provide us with more training opportunities," he said, but he did not elaborate on Taiwan's possible response.

According to Taiwan's foreign ministry, American Congress members have been visiting Taiwan for decades, although the two sides do not have formal diplomatic relations.

Last year, 14 American lawmakers visited Taiwan, while 19 have visited so far this year, according to MOFA.

The 19-hour visit to Taiwan by Pelosi on Aug. 3 was the first by a sitting U.S. House speaker since 1997.

During Markey's visit this week, he and his delegation, which comprised House members John Garamendi (D-CA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Don Beyer (D-VA) and Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (R-AS), met with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and other senior government officials to reiterate Washington's support for Taipei amid escalating cross-Strait tensions.

(By Joseph Yeh)


> Chinese Version

Related News

Aug. 16: China 'overreacting' to peaceful visits to Taiwan: U.S. official

Aug. 16: MOFA condemns Chinese sanctions on Taiwan's U.S. envoy, others

Aug. 15: U.S. senator praises Taiwan for restraint amid Beijing coercions

Aug. 15: Taiwan military reviewing PLA tactics applied in recent drills

Aug. 14: U.S. Congressional delegation arrives in Taiwan for two-day visit

Aug. 11: Taiwan not seeking conflict escalation but will defend sovereignty: Tsai

Aug. 11: Taiwan's allies to condemn China at U.N.: SVG prime minister

Aug. 11: Chinese white paper limits room for Taiwan post-unification: expert

Aug. 11: Government to spend NT$200 million on marketing food amid China bans

Aug. 10: MAC slams 'wishful thinking' and 'lies' in China's Taiwan white paper

Aug. 9: 45 warplanes, 10 warships spotted near Taiwan as PLA drills continue

Aug. 9: Taiwan's diplomatic ties stable amid possible China retaliation: FM

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Aug. 8: Chinese drills aligned with plans for taking Taiwan by force: Expert

Aug. 7: Taiwan to hold live-fire artillery drills to test combat readiness

Aug. 6: U.S., Japan, Australia urge China to stop military drills

Aug. 6: Defense ministry says China simulating attack on Taiwan

Aug. 5: China's drills a 'new normal' aimed at changing status quo: Experts

Aug. 4: President Tsai calls China's live-fire drills 'irresponsible act'

Aug. 4: China fires 11 Dongfeng ballistic missiles into waters off Taiwan: MND

Aug. 4: China cannot stop world leaders from visiting Taiwan: Pelosi

Aug. 3: China's military exercises aimed at blockading Taiwan: defense ministry

Aug. 3: China imposes new trade restrictions on Taiwan as Pelosi visits

Aug. 2: Visit to honor 'unwavering' U.S. commitment to Taiwan: Pelosi

    We value your privacy.
    Focus Taiwan (CNA) uses tracking technologies to provide better reading experiences, but it also respects readers' privacy. Click here to find out more about Focus Taiwan's privacy policy. When you close this window, it means you agree with this policy.