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China holds drills around Taiwan as U.S. lawmakers visit

Politics Apr 15, 2022 03:00AM ET
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© Reuters. Bob Menendez, chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and other members of the U.S. delegation arrive at Taipei Songshan airport in Taipei, Taiwan April 14, 2022. Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Handout via REUTERS

By Ben Blanchard and Yew Lun Tian

TAIPEI/BEIJING (Reuters) -China said it conducted military drills around Taiwan on Friday as a U.S. Congressional delegation visited the island in a show of support to a fellow democracy, with Beijing blaming the lawmakers for raising tensions with their "provocative" trip.

China's military sent frigates, bombers and fighter planes to the East China Sea and the area around Taiwan, the People's Liberation Army Eastern Theatre Command said, in a statement released as the lawmakers were holding a news conference in Taipei.

"This operation is in response to the recent frequent release of wrong signals by the United States on the Taiwan issue," it said, without mentioning the visiting U.S. delegation.

"The U.S. bad actions and tricks are completely futile and very dangerous. Those who play with fire will burn themselves," it said.

China's Defence Ministry, in a separate statement, said the U.S. visit was "deliberately provocative" and had "led to further escalation of tension in the Taiwan Strait".

Taiwan is a frequent source of tension between Beijing and Washington.

Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (NYSE:GHM) told Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen during the delegation's meeting with her that the war in Ukraine and provocative behaviour by China have united U.S. opinion in a way not seen before.

"To abandon Taiwan would be to abandon democracy and freedom," he said. "There's a backlash growing in the world to thuggery - to the bad guys."

Senator Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the technology hub is a "country of global significance" and its security has implications for the world.

The bipartisan group of six lawmakers arrived for their two-day visit on Thursday, in a previously unannounced trip.

Such visits, and a reference to Taiwan as a "country", always anger Beijing, which dismisses any suggestion that Taiwan is a country. China regards the island as one of its provinces.

The United States has no formal relations with Chinese-claimed Taiwan but is its most important international backer and arms supplier.

Menendez acknowledged the Chinese government was "very unhappy" with the delegation's visit but said that would not dissuade the group from supporting Taiwan.

"With Taiwan producing 90% of the world's high-end semiconductor products, it is a country of global significance, consequence and impact, and therefore it should be understood the security of Taiwan has a global impact," Menendez told Tsai.

Taiwan has been heartened by the U.S. support offered by the Biden administration, which has repeatedly talked of its "rock-solid" commitment to the democratically governed island.

That has added to strains in Sino-U.S. relations.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has also put Taipei on alert for any possible moves by Beijing to use the Ukraine crisis to make a move on the island. The government though has reported no sign that China is about to invade.

Taiwan has complained for the past two years or so of stepped-up Chinese military activity, including almost daily air force flights into Taiwan's air defence zone, but not close to the island itself.

China holds drills around Taiwan as U.S. lawmakers visit
 

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Comments (7)
Tony Barnes
Tony Barnes Apr 17, 2022 2:50AM ET
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To understand why China hasn't attacked Taiwan you need to be Chinese. You need to understand the high importance of family, siblings, brotherhood, v sisterhood.China's hand will only be forced of Taiwan declares independence.
Limin Tandiono
Limin Tandiono Apr 17, 2022 2:50AM ET
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Tony is absolutely rite. Family ties and values is highly important to chinese. That's why chinese never call the elderly by name. They even call elderdly strangers uncle, auntie, etc...this is the respect shown among chinese. This is one of the ancient values brought down thousand years of generations.
Honey Badger
Honey Badger Apr 16, 2022 9:46PM ET
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Taiwan need to learn from Ukraine US just want to use you against China. Your People will be killed and they will enjoy from distance
Yen Cross
Yen Cross Apr 15, 2022 7:40AM ET
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morpns wearing face diapers
gab nea
gab nea Apr 15, 2022 7:05AM ET
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is it a new communist manifesto that no democratic country can be near them? oh and let the lying begin!
Junk Man
Junk_Man Apr 15, 2022 6:11AM ET
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Taiwan is the same pawn as Ukraine but on the opposite side of the board… Japan, Korea, and most non western countries are American pawns…
Nam Soo Hoo
Nam Soo Hoo Apr 15, 2022 2:16AM ET
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usa is only make use of Taiwan to weaken china. but if china has been weaken, who will buy agricultural product from us? Taiwan? come on you american's strategy need to be clear in a logical way. for china, if usa is weaken who will buy made in china in such a big scale. if the world is peaceful, everyone is winners.
Mart Bab
Rubberduck1973 Apr 15, 2022 2:16AM ET
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In a way, I think like you. But the truth of the matter is what we see today with Russia. The rhetoric of the Russian and Chinese government is that they will burn the West to the ground. I am finding it very hard to trade we countries putting out that rhetoric. It is a petty, because the whole world thought 4 years ago, that trade was connecting people all over the world. But it seems China and Russia were only using it as a means to gather a huge army and invade other countries and *******a bunch of civilians. We thought we were in an era of peace and stability, where boundaries didn’t even matter. But China and Russia think otherwise. Now it feels like we are trading with countries that will turn around and stab us in the back. Why would you trade then?
Nam Soo Hoo
Nam Soo Hoo Apr 15, 2022 2:16AM ET
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please stand on our foot at Asia countries. we have been seeing intensive and fierceful sanctions, forcing countries to group up to fight against Russia and china, and see USA is the one who put on the fires. of course, there has been conflicts within all regions, but for Asia side, there has been no military conflicts. don't tell me you guys in north America got no conflicts, it is just both of your neighbours not strong enough to go against USA. Japanese have been having the intention to legalize their reason of invading other countries. we worry on Japan more than china. Japan's politician remain show very much of respect to their "war hero" and been changing their histories to hide their wrong doing. For China, they more care about business and citizen's welfare. we have to be good relations with them. american politician has very wrong perception on the other side of the world.
gab nea
gab nea Apr 15, 2022 2:16AM ET
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can't trust communists, they are atheists and will turn on you.
gab nea
gab nea Apr 15, 2022 2:16AM ET
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isn't china oppressing the uyghurs civilians in their population. how evil!
Bett Albern
Bett Albern Apr 15, 2022 1:55AM ET
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The Senator is a PAID HACK!  Menendez is no better than JIM BIDEN and JOE BIDEN!  You will see when the Hunter Biden laptop Grand Jury convenes. Very corrupt!..  This is not to say that Taiwan is not a US Ally.  Attorney General Merrick Garland to appoint a Special Prosecutor.
 
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