China kicks off military drills near Taiwan after surprise visit from US

Following the unexpected visit of US congressmen to Taiwan, the Chinese Foreign Ministry demanded the United States should stop all official contacts with Taiwan.

The PRC also said that the aviation and the fleet of the People's Liberation Army of China would conduct exercises in the East China Sea and in the Taiwan area due to "erroneous signals" from the United States.

The visit of US congressmen to Taiwan undermines the political basis of the relations between China and the United States and increases tensions in the region, said the Ministry of Defense of the People's Republic of China.

China has decided to hold comprehensive military exercises around Taiwan in response to the visit of US congressmen to the island, Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said.

He called the visit of the US delegation to Taiwan a deliberate provocation and said that by such actions, the US seriously undermines the political basis of China-US relations and further aggravates tensions in the Taiwan Strait.

"The Eastern Command of the People's Liberation Army of China has organized a multi-purpose maritime and air combat readiness test around the island of Taiwan and conducted comprehensive military drills," Wu Qian said.

The United States pledged not to support the independence of Taiwan, but at the same time the Americans send "wrong signals" to the leadership of the island nation, which, according to the Chinese authorities, is hypocritical, the official added.

Wu Qian called Taiwan an integral part of China and spoke against foreign interference in the issue of its territorial identity.

On April 14, a delegation of six US congressmen arrived in Taiwan to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen. During the talks, US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez said that Taiwan was a country of global importance. He also said that Taiwan's security mattered for the whole world. He acknowledged that Beijing was opposed to the visit of the American delegation, but this would not prevent congressmen from supporting Taiwan.

  • Taiwan is an island in the South China Sea, about 100 km off the coast of China. Its administrative status has not been regulated.
  • Taiwan declared secession from China in 1949 in the midst of a civil war. Beijing does not recognize its independence and considers it a Chinese province.
  • The United States does not have official diplomatic relations with Taiwan. However, the USA sells weapons to Taiwan under the Taiwan Relations Act that was approved back in 1979. The act envisages arms supplies to the country for self-defense.
  • At the same time, Washington maintains official relations with China and diplomatically recognizes Beijing's stance on the existence of only one Chinese government (the so-called "One China policy").

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Author`s name: Editorial Team, Editor: Dmitry Sudakov