US delegation visits Taiwan after China drills

US delegation visits Taiwan after China drills

A U.S. congressional delegation arrived in Taiwan on the day after China held military drills around the island in retaliation for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit.

The five-member delegation, led by Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts, will meet President Tsai Ing-wen and attend a banquet hosted by foreign minister Joseph Wu during the visit, according to Taiwan's foreign ministry.

The American Institute in Taiwan said they would discuss US-Taiwan relations, regional security, trade and investment, global supply chains, climate change, and other significant issues of mutual interest. Taiwan welcomed the delegation's visit as a sign of warm ties between Taipei and Washington. The ministry of foreign affairs welcomes the delegation the ministry said in a statement. As China continues to escalate tensions in the region, the US Congress has again organized a heavyweight delegation to visit Taiwan, showing a friendship that is not afraid of China's threats and intimidation, and highlighting the US's strong support towards Taiwan. The delegation's members are the Democratic members John Garamendi and Alan Lowenthal of California and Don Beyer of Virginia, and the Republican representative Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen from American Samoa, according to the institute.

China views Taiwan as its own territory and wants to take it down one day, by force if necessary. For a week after Pelosi visited this month, it sent warships, missiles and jets into the waters and skies around the island. Pelosi was the highest-ranking American official to visit Taiwan in decades.

Taiwan has accused China of using her visit as an excuse to kickstart drills that would allow it to prepare for an invasion. It held exercises that simulated defence against a Chinese invasion of its main island. China said it would continue to patrol the Taiwan Strait, despite the fact that it drew down its drills.

In its daily update, Taiwan's defence ministry said on Sunday it had detected 22 Chinese planes and six ships operating around the strait. Of those, 11 planes crossed the median line, an unofficial demarcation between Taiwan and China that Beijing does not recognize.

Last week, China vowed zero tolerance for separatist activities in Taiwan and reiterated its threat that it would take control of the self-ruled island by force if provoked.

China's Taiwan affairs office said on Wednesday that we are ready to create a vast space for peaceful reunification, but we will leave no room for separatist activities in any form.

It said China would not renounce the use of force and we reserve the right to take drastic measures to respond to the provocation of separatist elements or external forces should they ever cross our red lines. In 2000, China released a white paper on Taiwan.