China says it carried out more drills near Taiwan

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China says it carried out more drills near Taiwan

China's military said that it carried out more exercises near Taiwan as a delegation of US politicians visited the Chinese-claimed island and met President Tsai Ing-wen, who said her government was committed to maintaining stability.

The five US diplomats, led by Democrat Senator Ed Markey, arrived in Taipei on an unannounced visit late on Sunday, the second high-level group to visit after the US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi stepped down in early August, which set off several days of Chinese war games.

Ms Pelosi was the highest-level member of the US government to visit Taiwan in 25 years, and her trip prompted nearly two weeks of threatening military exercises by China.

In those drills, Beijing fired missiles over the island and the Taiwan Strait and sent war planes and navy ships across the waterway midline, which has been a buffer between the sides that split in 1949 due to civil war.

China accuses the US of encouraging the island's independence through the sale of weapons and engagement between US politicians and the island's government.

Washington says it does not support independence, has no formal diplomatic ties with the island and maintains that the two sides should settle their dispute peacefully, but it is legally bound to make sure the island can defend itself against any attack.

American and Taiwanese officials have accused China of using Ms Pelosi's visit as a pretext for intimidating moves, and a senior US official said recently that Washington would continue to deepen its ties with Taiwan in the coming days and weeks.

China will take resolute and strong measures to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity, according to a daily briefing on Monday by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin.

On Monday, the Chinese military unit responsible for the area adjacent to Taiwan, the People's Liberation Army's Eastern Theatre Command, said it had organized multi-service joint combat readiness patrols and combat drills in the sea and airspace around Taiwan.

The exercises took place near Taiwan's Penghu islands, which are located in the Taiwan Strait and are home to a major air base, and showed close up video of the islands taken by a Chinese air force aircraft, according to the theatre command.

In a harshly worded statement, China's Defence Ministry said its armed forces were training for war and would crush any attempt at independence by Taiwan.

Taiwan's Defence Ministry said 15 Chinese aircraft crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait again on Monday, and that it condemned China's new drills and would calmly face them.