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Sunday, September 25, 2022

China resumes military exercises near Taiwan after US lawmakers visit

The Chinese army resumed military exercises around Taiwan on August 15 following a visit by a senior US congressional delegation that recently met with President Tsai Ing-Wen in Taipei. Taiwan said it was developing cooperation with international allies to “keep a close eye on the military situation,” while Beijing accused Washington of “sabotaging” China’s sovereignty and supporting the independence of an island it considers its own.

Beijing is holding new “combat exercises” and is resuming its “preparation for war” rhetoric in Taiwan. And all this despite the fact that on August 10 he announced the end of a series of military, naval and air exercises near the island.

Cause? Visit of a bipartisan delegation of US congressmen to Taipei. The high-level group arrived in the Taiwanese capital on an unannounced official trip on the night of Sunday, August 14 and departed on August 15 in the late afternoon local time.

But this brief visit was enough to anger Beijing, which has again organized joint patrols of its forces in “preparation for inter-service combat and offensive exercises in the sea and airspace around Taiwan,” the Eastern Theater Command, China the army in charge of the territory adjacent to the island operates independently.

“The People’s Liberation Army of China continues to train and prepare for war, resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and resolutely crush any form of ‘Taiwan independence’ separatism and foreign interference,” the Chinese Defense Ministry said.

The Xi Jinping administration also accused foreign lawmakers of “fully exposing the true face of the United States as a violator of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.”

According to a video released by the Beijing military, the new military exercise took place near the Penghu Islands, which are located in the Formosa Strait and are home to a large air base.

The exercise was “a serious obstacle for the United States and Taiwan to continue to play political ploys and undermine peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” the Chinese army’s Eastern Theater Command said.

What was the reason for the new visit, which provoked the wrath of Beijing?

US Congressmen led by Massachusetts Democratic Senator Ed Markey met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu and members of the Taiwan Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense. de facto Washington embassy in the territory.

“We are working closely with international allies to closely monitor the military situation. At the same time, we are doing our best to let the world know that Taiwan is determined to defend stability and the status quo across the Taiwan Strait.” President Tsai explained the reasons for the visit of the US congressmen.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-Wen Poses For Photos With Members Of The Us Congress And Other Taiwanese Officials During A Meeting At The President'S Office In Taipei, Taiwan, Monday, August 15, 2022.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen poses for photos with members of the US Congress and other Taiwanese officials during a meeting at the President’s Office in Taipei, Taiwan, Monday, August 15, 2022. © Taiwan President’s Office/via Associated Press

For his part, Taiwan Legislative Assembly Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee Chairman Lo Chih-cheng said the visit is significant because it conveys the American people’s message of support for Taiwanese citizens in the form of a moment of high tension.

“This shows that China cannot ban politicians from any country from visiting Taiwan,” Luo added.

Washington, whose delegation also included Republicans Aumua Amat and Coleman Radewagen and Democrats John Garamendi, Alan Lowenthal and Don Beyer, said they had the opportunity to exchange views with their counterparts on “a wide range of issues of relevance” to the two territories. that range from easing tensions in the Formosa Strait to investing in Taiwan’s critical semiconductor industry.

“We have a moral obligation to do everything we can to avoid unnecessary conflict…Taiwan has shown incredible restraint and discretion in difficult times,” Tsai said Senator Marki.

This is the second high-level US visit to the island, following a visit led by Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi on August 2. live fire drills all over the island.

But this time, the official ride was much more careful than Pelosi’s. Cai’s meeting with the congressmen was not broadcast live on their social media, which is a common practice when high-profile foreign guests arrive on the island.

The group left Taiwan late on Monday evening, and only after that, the presidential administration released the recording of the meeting with the President of Taiwan.

Tsai: “Chinese teachings affect peace and stability in the region”

During a meeting with congressmen of the Joe Biden administration, the president of the island, which functions autonomously with his government and army, assured that “Chinese exercises have greatly influenced peace and stability in the region.”

Visits by senior US officials to Taiwan have been going on for decades, and even Pelosi’s trip was unprecedented. However, the frequency and profile of official visits by the first authorities have increased since the administration of former President Donald Trump and now under the government of Joe Biden.

Taiwan has also bought more weapons from the United States in recent years as China continues to put pressure on the island amid worsening relations between Washington and Beijing.

Ground Forces Under The Command Of The Chinese People'S Liberation Army (Pla) Eastern Theater Of Operations Conduct A Long-Range Live Fire Exercise Across The Taiwan Strait From An Undisclosed Location.  Images Published August 5, 2022.
Ground forces under the command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theater of Operations conduct a long-range live fire exercise across the Taiwan Strait from an undisclosed location. Images published August 5, 2022. © Chinese Army Eastern Command/Via Reuters

Beyond the geopolitical risks of rising tensions between the two world powers, a protracted crisis across the Taiwan Strait could have major implications for international supply chains at a time when the world is already facing disruption and uncertainty due to the Covid pandemic. in the midst of Russia’s war with Ukraine, two of the world’s leading grain exporters.

In particular, Taiwan is a major supplier of computer chips that are critical to the global economy, including China’s high-tech sectors that power much of the world.

On Friday, August 12, Deputy Assistant to US President Joe Biden Kurt Campbell said that China “overreacted” to Pelosi’s visit and that his actions remain “provocative, destabilizing and unprecedented.”

Given this scenario, he said the US would send warships and aircraft across the Taiwan Strait in the coming weeks.

With Reuters and Associated Press

World Nation News Desk
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