Beijing called the visit, which comes amid heightened tensions over the island, a ‘serious offense’.
China has launched military exercises near Taiwan after calling a visit to the island by U.S. lawmakers a “serious offense.”
In an announcement Tuesday, China’s Ministry of National Defense said the exercises in the Taiwan Strait area were a “necessary measure to protect national sovereignty”.
This happened shortly before Wang Wenbin, spokesman for the country’s foreign ministry, called a visit by U.S. lawmakers to the island, which China considers an apostate province, a “serious violation” of the United States. responsibilities not to have formal relations with Taiwan.
“China is strongly opposed to this and has made solemn representations to the US,” Wang said during a daily briefing on Wednesday.
Lawmakers arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday on board a C-40 Clipper jet, which departed shortly thereafter, according to Taiwan’s official Central News Agency.
John Kirby, spokesman for the U.S. Department of Defense, told reporters Tuesday that congressional visits often use military aircraft and that travel to the island is “relatively common and in line with U.S. obligations under Taiwan Relations Act.”
The US, like many countries, switched recognition of the exiled government in Taipei to the People’s Republic of China in Beijing in 1979, but maintained a policy of “strategic ambiguity” with the island under the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979.
Washington het repeatedly said it supports Taiwan’s self-defense and is against “any unilateral changes to the status quo”. However, the White House was quick to step back US President Joe Biden promise in October that Washington would intervene in the event of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan.
That statement angered Beijing and caused tensions between the two superpowers.
China has not ruled out the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control and has repeatedly accused the US and other countries of interfering in what it considers to be internal affairs related to the island.
China has repeatedly sent fighter jets near Taiwanese airspace in recent months and has held military training exercises that simulate a beach invasion.
In early October, during China’s National Day weekend, China sent a record 149 military planes southwest of Taiwan in attack group formations, causing Taiwan to blast planes and activate its anti-aircraft missile systems.
Weeks later, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen confirmed to broadcaster CNN that the US has a small number of military personnel training on the island. The US has not publicly acknowledged the training mission.
The legislators’ current trip was coordinated by the U.S. Institute in Taiwan, which is the de facto U.S. embassy and Taiwan’s foreign ministry, spokeswoman Joanne Ou told reporters.
No further details of the trip were released.