After a visit of US congressmen to Taiwan, China announced military exercises near the island. In a response to an unannounced visit conducted by a delegation of six US congressmen on Thursday, the Chinese military retaliated by conducting a military exercise.
In an earlier response, China had opposed official contact between the US and Taiwan.
“China firmly opposes any form of official interaction between the US and the Taiwan region. Members of the US Congress should act in consistence with the US government’s one-China policy,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian told a briefing.
Zhao noted that the US “should abide by the one-China principle and the stipulations of the three China-US joint communique” and stop any form of “official exchanges with Taiwan and avoid going further down this dangerous path.”
He also reaffirmed Beijing’s commitment to safeguarding its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry said this visit showed bipartisan support for Taiwan in the US Congress.
This comes a few days after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi cancelled a planned visit to Taiwan, after contracting COVID-19.
Taiwan has been governed independently from mainland China for over seven decades.
Beijing views the island as its province, while Taiwan, which is a territory with its own democratically-elected government, maintains that it is an autonomous country.
A delegation of six US congressmen, headed by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez, arrived on the island on Thursday on an unannounced visit.
They will hold talks with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and National Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng, Taiwanese news agency CNA reported. “On April 15, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command sent warships, bombers, fighter jets and other forces to organize multi-purpose combat patrols and conduct sea and air exercises in the East China Sea and around the island of Taiwan,” the Eastern Theater Command of the People’s Liberation Army of China said in a statement.
According to the Chinese military, these actions were organized in response to “recent erroneous US signals regarding the Taiwan issue,” and are absolutely useless and very dangerous. “The one who plays with fire is sure to burn themselves,” the statement added.