China conducts naval, air force drills near Taiwan Strait after US lawmakers’ visit
- Army is on ‘high alert’, says ‘this is a necessary measure in response to the current situation in the Taiwan Strait’
- American lawmakers arrived in Taiwan on Thursday offering support for the island’s authorities, who Beijing accuses of seeking independence
The Chinese army has carried out a “naval and air force combat readiness patrol” near the Taiwan Strait following a contentious visit to the island by a group of American lawmakers, a spokesperson said.
A group of American lawmakers arrived on the island on Thursday offering support for the Taiwanese authorities, who Beijing accuses of seeking independence for the island.
In response, the Chinese army on Friday carried out “a naval and air force combat readiness patrol in the direction of the Taiwan Strait,” a spokesperson for the Eastern Theatre Command said in a statement.
“This is a necessary measure in response to the current situation in the Taiwan Strait,” they added, pledging the army would “protect sovereignty and territorial integrity of the nation.”
“The army will continue to be on high alert and take all necessary measures to counter, at any time, any interference by external forces and any conspiracy by separatists aiming at the so-called ‘Taiwan independence’.”
No other information about the drills was given.
China’s foreign ministry on Friday expressed Beijing’s “firm opposition” to the US lawmakers’ visit, the second by members of Congress to the island this month.
Led by Mark Takano, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, the delegation met with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen on Thursday in a show of support for a rare issue on which there is cross-party consensus in the US.
“Taiwan will continue to step up cooperation with the United States in order to uphold our shared values of freedom and democracy, and to ensure peace and stability in the region,” Tsai said.
China has intensified pressure on Taiwan since the 2016 election of Tsai, whose party has long advocated for the island’s self-rule.