China conducts new military drills around Taiwan in response to Congress visit

The exercises are “a solemn response to the political games of the United States and Taiwan that undermine the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait”, the senior colonel said. Eastern Theater Command’s Shi Yi was quoted as saying on the command’s official Weibo account. “We will take all necessary measures and resolutely defend national sovereignty and the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait.”

Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said 30 Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) warplanes and five ships were detected in the Taiwan Strait on Monday.

A US congressional delegation led by Sen. Ed Markey arrived in Taipei on Sunday for an unprecedented meeting two day visit which follows a trip by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier this month.

Pelosi’s visit, the first by a seated speaker in 25 years, angered Beijing, which responded by launching major multi-day military drills around Taiwan.

China’s military said last Wednesday it had “successfully completed” those drills, but pledged to “regularly carry out” more patrols toward the Taiwan Strait.

China’s ruling Chinese Communist Party considers Taiwan to be part of its territory, although it has never controlled it, and has long pledged to ‘reunify’ the island with the Chinese mainland, by force. if necessary.

Markey’s five-member delegation traveled to the self-governing island with the goal of “reaffirming U.S. support for Taiwan” and “encouraging stability and peace in the Taiwan Strait”, said a spokesperson for the senator in a statement.

At their Monday meeting, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen thanked the delegation for visiting at a “key time” and for showing support for Taiwan through action.

Tsai said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has highlighted the threat authoritarian regimes pose to the world order, and China’s recent military exercises around the island have “severely disrupted “Regional peace and stability.

“Taiwan has not only worked closely with our international friends, closely monitoring all military movements around us, but also continued to convey to the world our resolve to maintain the status quo in the Taiwan Strait,” the official said. President.

Tsai added that Taiwan wants to “further deepen cooperation with the United States and jointly maintain prosperity and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. In the face of global authoritarian expansionism, Taiwan also wants to deepen trade relations with sharing democracies. the same ideas and create a more resilient supply chain.”

In response, Markey praised Tsai for his leadership, saying he was “honoured” to “stand by Tsai and to stand by Taiwan,” according to the statement from the president’s office.

“In these uncertain times, we must redouble our efforts to ensure Taiwan’s peace and stability. We have a moral obligation to actively prevent unnecessary conflict. In responding to this greatest challenge, Taiwan has demonstrated a incredible restraint and discretion,” Markey said.

A US congressional delegation led by Sen.  Ed Markey arrived in Taipei on Sunday for an unannounced two-day visit.

Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu also thanked the delegation for their visit after welcoming the group to the Foreign Ministry on Monday.

“Authoritarian #China cannot dictate how democratic #Taiwan makes friends, wins support, remains resilient and shines as a beacon of freedom,” Wu wrote in a post on the ministry’s Twitter account.

In a statement on Monday, China’s Defense Ministry called the congressional delegation’s trip an “ambush visit” that “violates China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

The military drills conducted by its Eastern Theater Command were a “solemn deterrent” from “collusion and provocation” by the United States and Taiwan, spokesman Wu Qian said.

Beijing’s Foreign Ministry also denounced the Congress visit during a regular press briefing on Monday.

Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said China urges the United States “not to cause further damage to China-US relations and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.”

“China will take resolute and strong measures to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Wang said.

CNN’s Eric Cheung, Gladys Tsai and Devan Cole contributed to this report.