On Monday, China’s military said it conducted more exercises near Taiwan, as a group of US legislators visited the Chinese-claimed island and met with President Tsai Ing-wen, who said her administration was dedicated to maintaining stability.
The five U.S. senators, led by Senator Ed Markey, arrived in Taipei late on Sunday on an unannounced visit, the second high-level group to come since U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit in early August, which triggered several days of Chinese war drills.
The People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theatre Command, which is in charge of the area surrounding Taiwan, announced on Monday that it has organized multi-service joint combat readiness patrols and combat drills in the sea and airspace near Taiwan.
The exercises were described as “a stern deterrent to the United States and Taiwan continuing to play political tricks and undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait”
In a separate statement, China’s Defense Ministry stated the lawmakers’ visit violated 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 defends national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and will resolutely crush any form of ‘Taiwan independence’ separatism and foreign interference.”
The theater command stated that the exercises took place near Taiwan’s Penghu islands, which are located in the Taiwan Strait and host a significant air base, and displayed close-up video of the islands captured by a Chinese air force aircraft.
Tsai told lawmakers in her office that China’s exercises have had a significant impact on regional peace and stability.
“We are engaging in close cooperation with international allies to closely monitor the military situation. At the same time we are doing everything we can to let the world know that Taiwan is determined to safeguard stability and the status quo in the Taiwan Strait,” she said, in video footage provided by the presidential office.
Tsai was advised by Markey that “we have a moral obligation” to do everything possible to avoid a clash.
“Taiwan has demonstrated incredible restraint and discretion during challenging times,” he noted.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry claimed 15 Chinese aircraft breached the Taiwan Strait’s median line on Monday, an unofficial border between the two countries, and that it criticized China’s new maneuvers and would “calmly” tackle them.