US delegation in Taiwan as China slams ‘provocative actions’

Beijing, Nov 10 (EFE).- A group of United States lawmakers and senators is visiting Taiwan, the island’s foreign ministry confirmed Wednesday, in a previously undisclosed visit that China has slammed as “provocative actions.”

A United States C-40 Clipper military transport plane carrying the delegation landed at the Taipei Songshan Airport at around 6:17 pm on Tuesday and departed at 7:10 pm, according to local media cited by state news outlet CNA.

Taiwan’s foreign ministry confirmed the visit in a statement on Wednesday, but did not provide details.

The ministry said that the trip was organized by the American Institute in Taiwan – the de facto embassy of Washington on the island since the US broke official diplomatic relations with Taipei in 1979 to establish ties with Beijing – and that the ministry was providing “administrative assistance” as well as coordination on Covid-19 prevention measures.

The Taiwanese ministry did not specify the delegation members, the duration, nor the objectives of the visit, and said more information would be provided at a later date.

China, which claims sovereignty over Taiwan, slammed the US delegation’s trip, a particularly sensitive issue between the world’s two largest economies.

“We hereby warn the US side to immediately stop its provocative actions, immediately cease all destructive actions that lead to the escalation of tensions in the Taiwan Strait, and stop sending wrong signals to ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces,” Chinese defense ministry spokesperson Tan Kefei said in a statement on Tuesday.

In addition, the spokesperson for the People’s Liberation Army Eastern Theater Command, Shi Yi, announced on Tuesday that the Chinese military had begun a series of maneuvers near the Taiwan Strait, a common tactic by China every time such a visit to the island is reported.

The last time US representatives traveled to Taiwan was in June. In April, another US delegation visited the island for the first time since US President Joe Biden’s arrival at the White House.

Incursions by Chinese military warplanes into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone have intensified this year. There were 554 incursions between September 2020 and August 2021, according to a recent report by the Taiwanese military.

Visits to the island by representatives of countries with formal diplomatic relations with China have also increased, despite Beijing’s disapproval.

Beijing insists through its one-China principle on “reunification” with the island, which has been governed autonomously since the Kuomintang nationalists retreated to Taiwan in 1949 after losing the civil war against the Communists and ruled over the territory until the early 1990s, when a transition to democracy took place. EFE


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