US Delegation in Taiwan ‘Greeted’ with Military Drills by China

In a move China’s People’s Liberation Army said was intended to target the wrong signals sent by the United States, Beijing conducted military drills around Taiwan on Friday as a US Congressional delegation visited the island.

According to People’s Liberation Army Eastern Theater Command spokesman Shi Yilu quoted by China’s state broadcaster, PLA sent frigates, bombers, and fighter planes to the East China Sea and the area around Taiwan.

Shi pointed out that the operation is in response to the US’s recent frequent release of wrong signals on the Taiwan issue, calling the American tricks and actions completely futile and very dangerous without mentioning the US lawmakers’ visit.

Although it has no formal relations with Chinese-claimed Taiwan, the US is its most important international backer and arms supplier. In that context, Shi warned that those who play with fire will burn themselves.

The already strained Sino-US relations were additionally burdened by US support to Taiwan offered by the Biden administration, which has heartened the island with the repeated talk of its rock-solid commitment to the democratically governed island that Beijing regards as one of its provinces.

Hence, such visits like the congressional one on Friday and the reference to Taiwan as a country rankle in China, which dismiss any suggestion that Taiwan is a country.

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, US Senator Bob Menendez, was among a bipartisan group of six US lawmakers who visited the island in a show of support in the face of Chinese pressure.

Menendez said during the Friday meeting with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen that Taiwan as a tech hub is of global significance and its security has implications for the world.

GOP Senator Lindsey Graham, on the other side, told Tsai that the provocative behavior by China and the war in Ukraine have united US opinion in a way not seen before.

Taipei was put on alert for any possible moves by Beijing to use the Ukraine crisis to make a move on the island, but the government has reported no unusual Chinese activity.

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