China begins new military drills as U.S. delegation visits Taiwan

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TAIPEI, Taiwan – China announced new military drills around Taiwan on Monday A delegation of US lawmakers Meeting with Taiwanese officials amid heightened tensions in the region, Beijing accused the United States of “playing cheap political tricks” by strengthening its unofficial ties with the self-ruled democracy.

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office warned Taiwan’s leaders that they would be “severely punished” if they provoked Beijing.

Sen. Edward J. A delegation of five members of Congress led by Markey (D-Mass.) was expected to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen during an overnight stop in Taipei as part of a larger tour of Asia. Statement by the American Institute in Taiwan. Taiwan had not released details of the meeting as of midnight local time on Monday.

In a statement on Monday, Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office in Beijing, said China opposed the lawmakers’ trip and warned of unspecified consequences if Taiwan’s leaders “fail to restrain themselves.”

“Some individuals in the United States did not learn that lesson from the outcome of Pelosi’s visit,” he said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin also criticized the delegation, saying it was sending a “seriously wrong signal” to “separatist forces” in Taiwan.

Beijing’s reaction Monday was less fiery than the reaction two weeks ago to a visit by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who made the largest Demonstration of Chinese military saber rattling Since the 1995-1996 Taiwan Strait crisis.

US lawmakers visit Taiwan after Pelosi trip angers China

On Monday afternoon, however, the People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command announced drills involving multiple branches of the military near Taiwan, which it said was a warning to the United States and Taiwan against “playing cheap political tricks.” China’s Ministry of Defense said in a statement that the latest visit by US lawmakers showed that the United States “is a real agitator and disturber of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.” The Chinese military has demonstrated its ability to deter any foreign interference in the region.

The initially muted response was in stark contrast to the flurry of angry statements Beijing issued as soon as Pelosi’s plane landed in Taipei on August 2. For security reasons, US lawmakers’ visits to Taiwan are often unannounced — as is the trip by the Speaker of the House, J Financial Times reported In July.

China’s display of military might in response to Pelosi’s visit began in earnest a day after she left. Then, over four days, China fired missiles into the sea from all sides of the main island of Taiwan, while warplanes repeatedly crossed the unofficial border down the middle of the strait. Taiwan’s military said the drills amounted to a blockade and were involved Simulation of an attackAlthough disruptions to commercial flights and shipping were limited and daily life was largely normal for Taiwan’s 23 million residents.

Kurt Campbell, the White House’s Indo-Pacific coordinator, said Friday that China “overreacted.” He said the United States would continue air and sea traffic through the Taiwan Strait in the next few weeks.

The arrival of the second delegation comes as tensions in the Taiwan Strait ease, highlighting a growing rift between Beijing and Washington over efforts to strengthen informal ties with Taipei. Wen-Tee Sung, a scholar at the Australian National University’s Taiwan Studies Program, said the United States was trying to normalize visits by its lawmakers, while China was trying to “safeguard” the exchanges with regular military responses.

“The visit of the US Congress to Taiwan does not change US policy, although Beijing may criticize them as such,” Sung said. Rethinking or delaying such visits to Taiwan for fear of provoking a harsh Chinese military response would “allow Beijing to link the common practice of parliamentary diplomacy with military stability and secure a hitherto relatively insensitive area of ​​diplomacy,” he added.

After Pelosi’s visit, China began military exercises around Taiwan

In recent months, Beijing has instructed Taipei and Washington not to test its resolve on Taiwan. inside White paper Issued last week, China’s State Council directed the United States not to stand “in the way” of China’s reunification and expressed Beijing’s belief that the United States is undermining China’s claims yet taking action, including increasing “official” exchanges with Taiwan over arms sales and colluding in military provocations. .

The document dropped earlier commitments not to station Chinese troops or send administrative personnel to Taiwan in a state of unification—a shift Broadly interpreted Reflects Beijing’s tough stance on Taiwan.

The White House has repeatedly said the United States’ one-China policy — which acknowledges Beijing’s claims over Taiwan but takes no position on how the two sides should resolve their differences other than urging a peaceful resolution — remains unchanged. Under the Taiwan Relations Act, Washington maintains close informal ties with Taipei, including supporting Taiwan’s efforts to build up its defenses.

Du reported from Beijing. Lyric Lee in Seoul contributed to this report.

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