US Delegation in Taiwan, China Responds with Military Manoeuvres

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A US delegation of MPs landed yesterday in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, for a sudden two-day visit. She meets with President Tsai Ing-wen, Secretary of State Joseph Wu and several defence officials.

 

China has already threatened severe sanctions and has planned military manoeuvres in the Taiwan area.

A US delegation led by Democratic Senator Robert Menendez landed yesterday in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, for an unscheduled visit. He is joined by five Republicans who have repeatedly criticized China. The delegation will meet with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, Secretary of State Joseph Wu and several defence officials to discuss US support for Taiwan.

Menendez is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In February, he and other lawmakers introduced a bill to rebrand Taiwan’s de facto embassy in Washington D.C. as “Taiwan’s Representative Office.” In this way, the US is breaking away from the diplomatic custom of referring to “Taipei” whenever it refers to Taiwan. Lithuania has already done this, much to the frustration of China.

“Those who play with fire can burn themselves,” warns Zhao Lijian, the spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Military manoeuvres are also planned in the Taiwan area. These exercises take place at sea and in the air.

There are no official diplomatic ties between the United States and Taiwan out of respect for China’s “one China” policy. Still, the Americans are the island’s most important ally. For example, they supply many weapons to Taiwan so that they can protect themselves against a possible Chinese attack.

Ties between the US and Taiwan were strengthened during the final days of Donald Trump’s presidency. His Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the US is lifting restrictions on contact between US and Taiwanese officials.

Current President Joe Biden made it clear at the start of his presidency that the US would come to the aid of Taiwan if China were to attack. However, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned that the Americans were “playing with fire”.

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