BEIJING: China’s military said it carried out another exercise near Taiwan on Monday as a group of US lawmakers visited the Chinese-claimed island and met with President Tsai Ing-wen in what Beijing said was a violation of its sovereignty.
Five US lawmakers, led by Senator Ed Markey, arrived in Taipei for an unannounced visit late Sunday, the second high-level group to visit after a visit by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in early August that kicked off several days of China war games.
China’s military unit in charge of the area adjacent to Taiwan, the People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command, said on Monday it organized multi-service joint combat readiness patrols and combat exercises in the sea and airspace around Taiwan.
The exercises were “a strict deterrent for the United States and Taiwan to continue to play political tricks and undermine peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” he added.
China’s Ministry of Defense said in a separate statement that the lawmakers’ trip violated China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and “fully exposes the true face of the United States as a corrupter and destroyer of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.”
“The Chinese People’s Liberation Army continues to train and prepare for war, resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and resolutely crush any form of ‘Taiwan independence’ separatism and foreign interference.”
No statement provided details of the exercises.
Pelosi’s visit infuriated China, which responded with its first ballistic missile test over Taipei and reneged on some lines of dialogue with Washington, including theater military talks and climate change.
The latest group of US lawmakers to visit Taiwan were scheduled to meet with Tsai on Monday morning. Her office has not yet commented on the meeting.
The United States has no formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but is bound by law to provide the democratically-governed island with the means to defend itself.