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US lawmakers arrive in Taiwan and China sends military to prepare ‘for combat’

The Chinese army announced that it had carried out a “combat readiness patrol” in the Taiwan Strait, “in response” to the visit that US congressmen are making to this island that Beijing claims as its own.

The island is a hotbed of tension between the United States and China, which considers it one of its provinces. It has a democratic system although the United Nations does not recognize Taiwan, of 23 million inhabitants, as an independent state.

In this difficult context, US congressmen arrived in Taiwan on Thursday as a show of support for the island’s authorities, viewed by the Beijing government with distrust as they try to create a local identity different from the Chinese one.

The Chinese army carried out on Friday “a combat readiness patrol of the naval and air forces in the direction of the Taiwan Strait, “said a military spokesman, in a statement released on Saturday.

“It is part of the army’s sacred mission to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the nation,” he added, without giving details about the mobilized media.

Taiwan claims its separation from the government of China. Photo: AFP

Strong warning

A spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zhao Lijian, underlined this Friday at a press conference China’s “firm opposition” to the visit of the congressmen, which means “supporting the Taiwanese pro-independence activists.”

“This is my advice to some people in America: don’t play the Taiwan card (against China). It’s a really bad move. They have no chance of winning.”

The arrival of this mission of four congressmen, three Democrats and a Republican, comes just days after US President Joe Biden invited Taiwan to a summit on democracy, also provoking the fury of Beijing.

The United Nations does not recognize Taiwan, of 23 million people, as an independent state.

Taiwan

“Firm friendship” between the US and the island

The visit demonstrates “the strong friendship between Taiwan and the United States” and the “strong bipartisan support for deepening these ties” in Congress, said Xavier Chang, spokesman for Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.

Especially under the presidency of Xi Jinping in Beijing and Tsai in Taipei, tensions escalated and the Chinese authorities redoubled their efforts to isolate the island internationally.

“When our trip became known yesterday, my office received a strong message from the Chinese embassy telling me to cancel the trip,” Democratic Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin said on Friday.

The President of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, has

The President of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, has

“We are here in Taiwan this week to remind our partners and allies, after two difficult years we have overcome, that our commitment and shared responsibility for a free and safe Indo-Pacific region remains stronger than ever,” he said in turn. Congressman Mark Takano, also from the Biden Democratic Party.

The American Institute of Taiwan, the de facto US embassy, ​​reported that the two-day visit would address “US-Taiwan relations, regional security and other significant issues of mutual concern.”

Western countries’ sympathy for Taiwan is growing despite the diplomatic, military and economic pressure from the Chinese authorities on the island.

In addition to the two visits by US lawmakers, a group of French senators and a delegation from the European Parliament visited Taiwan in recent weeks.

The territory is officially recognized by only fifteen countries, but it maintains de facto diplomatic relations with multiple nations.

Named the “Republic of China” in opposition to Beijing’s “People’s Republic of China”, Taiwan was formed as an independent entity in 1949, following the victory of the Communists in the Chinese civil war.

Source: AFP and AP

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