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China stages new drills near Taiwan as US lawmakers visit

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The Chinese military said it conducted more exercises near Taiwan on Monday when a group of US lawmakers visited the island claimed by China and met President Tsai Ing-wen in what Beijing said was an invasion of its sovereignty.

The five US lawmakers, led by Senator Ed Markey, arrived in Taipei late Sunday for an unannounced visit, the second high-level group to visit after that of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in early August. , those several days of Chinese war games.

The Chinese military unit responsible for the area bordering Taiwan, the People’s Liberation Army Eastern Theater Command, said Monday it had organized multi-service joint combat readiness patrols and combat exercises in the sea and airspace around Taiwan.

The exercises were “a powerful deterrent to the United States and Taiwan, which continue to play political tricks and undermine peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” it added.

China’s defense ministry said in a separate statement that the lawmakers’ journey infringed on China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and “fully exposes the true face of the United States as a spoiler and spoiler 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 suppress any form of ‘Taiwan independence’ separatism and foreign interference.”

Neither statement gave details about the exercises.

Taiwanese Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang said they would not be deterred by China’s response to such visits from foreign friends.

“We can’t just do nothing because there’s an angry neighbor next door, and don’t dare to let visitors or friends come,” he told reporters.

Pelosi’s visit infuriated China, which responded with first-ever test launches of ballistic missiles over Taipei, and fled a number of lines of dialogue with Washington, including theater-military talks and on climate change.

The last group of US lawmakers to visit Taiwan was to meet with Tsai Monday morning. Her office has yet to comment on the meeting.

However, this trip was much quieter than Pelosi’s, with Tsai’s meeting with them not live on her social media pages, which is the common practice when high-level foreign guests come.

The United States has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but is required by law to provide the democratically governed island with the means to defend itself.

China has never ruled out using force to control Taiwan. The government of Taiwan says the People’s Republic of China has never ruled the island and thus has no right to claim it, and that only the 23 million people can decide their future.

(Reuters)

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