Beijing has announced another round of military drills around Taiwan on Monday, stoking tensions amid the latest US congressional delegation visit to the Island nation.
The Defense Ministry described the military exercises as a “resolute response and solemn deterrent against collusion and provocation between the US and Taiwan.”
It is unclear what the upcoming military exercises will look like or where they will be conducted.
China has purported that the US visits support the island’s independence and violates US-China policy over the island.
“China will take resolute and strong measures to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Monday. “A handful of US politicians, in collusion with the separatist forces of Taiwan independence, are trying to challenge the one-China principle, which is out of their depth and doomed to failure.”
Five lawmakers – led by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) – arrived in Taiwan Sunday as part of a two-day visit where they were scheduled to meet with local leaders, including Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, to discuss regional security, trade, investment and relations between Taipei and Washington.
The other members of the delegation are Republican Rep. Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen, a delegate from American Samoa, and Democratic House members John Garamendi and Alan Lowenthal from California and Don Beyer from Virginia.
Wang directly took a hit at Markey on Monday, saying the delegation “infringes on China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and sends a wrong signal to the “Taiwan independence” separatist forces.”
“China will take resolute and strong measures to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity. Associating themselves with the separatists in Taiwan and attempting to challenge the one-China principle is a misjudgment and will get these small number of US politicians nowhere,” the spokesperson warned.
The escalation comes the same month that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) visited Taiwan, along with several Democratic lawmakers, during a trip that China claimed was provocative and would harm relations.
The trip made Pelosi the highest-ranking official to visit the island nation in 25 years. In retaliation, the Chinese government launched several days of military drills around and over Taiwan, imposed sanctions over Pelosi and her family, and halted talks with Washington DC on issues ranging from climate change to military relations and anti-drug efforts.
While China has long claimed sovereignty over Taiwan, the US abides by a “One-China” policy – acknowledging the claim but not supporting it. In recent weeks, top Washington officials, including Pelosi, have reiterated that the US stands by this policy and does not support Taiwan’s independence.
At the same time, Washington has repeatedly insisted in recent months that the US would provide Taiwan with arms to defend itself in case of an invasion.
The initial military drills – which included ballistic missile launches that came perilously close to the capital of Taipei, and simulated air and sea attacks that crossed into Taiwanese territory – winded down last week, however, Beijing vowed to keep up patrols.
“[W]e will not renounce the use of force, and we reserve the option of taking all necessary measures,” China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said Wednesday. “This is to guard against external interference and all separatist activities … Our ultimate goal is to ensure the prospects of China’s peaceful reunification and advance this process.”