Tensions rise as China begins fresh war games around Taiwan
Beijing, Aug 15 (EFE).- The Chinese army Monday said it would carry out fresh air and marine military drills around Taiwan amid growing tensions as a United States congressional delegation visited the disputed island.
The previously unannounced visit by five members of the American congress, which began on Sunday, comes 12 days after a trip by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said the trip was akin to the United States interfering with the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China.
Colonel Shi Yi, the spokesperson for the Eastern Theater Command, said the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) would “firmly safeguard China’s national sovereignty and the peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits.”
“The PLA Eastern Theater Command organized joint combat-readiness security patrol and combat training exercise involving troops of multiple services and arms in waters and airspace around Taiwan Island on Monday,” a Chinese military statement said.
“(It) is a solemn deterrent to the United States and the Taiwan authorities, which have repeatedly played political tricks and undermined peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits.”
During Pelosi’s visit, China conducted its largest military drills around the self-ruled island that Beijing considers part of its territory to be seized one day, by force if necessary.
China has accused the US of working against its one-China policy.
On Aug 11, after completing the drills in response to Pelosi’s visit, the military spokesperson announced that the army would organize “regular combat patrols” in the waters around Taiwan.
Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian Monday said the visit by US politicians is a “glaring violation” of the “one China” policy.
Wu said the PLA continued to “train troops for war” to “crush any form of separatist scheme and foreign interference for Taiwan independence.”
The US delegation, which plans to visit other parts of the Indo-Pacific, comprises Republican and Democratic senators.
The five-member delegation is led by Democratic Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts as part of a visit to Asia.
During their two-day stay, the US delegation will hold meetings with Taiwanese leaders on regional security and trade.
China has conducted drills in the Taiwan Strait in recent years.
However, the most recent exercises related to the current crisis that began with Pelosi’s visit are the largest ones involving more military elements and covering larger areas than before.
Taipei describes the Chinese military presence around the Taiwan Straits as a “blockade.” EFE