U.S. lawmakers pledge support for Taiwan after China’s military drills

Photo credit: Taiwan Presidential Office

A U.S. congressional delegation landed on Sunday in Taipei, Taiwan to meet with the newly inaugurated Taiwan administration in a show of support days after China held military drills in the Taiwan Strait and around Taiwan.

China’s military kicked off two days of exercises last week in what it called “a strong punishment for separatist acts of Taiwan independence forces.” China’s Foreign Ministry said the drills is a warning to “external interference and provocation.”

The US House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Michael McCaul with a bipartisan congressional delegation met on Monday with Taiwanese authorities to discuss regional security, trade, and investment to explore new areas of collaboration between the United States and Taiwan.

The delegation included four Republicans and was led by Michael McCaul, the chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Lin Chia-Lung called the visit by US lawmakers “a powerful display of the strong bipartisan support of Taiwan in the United States.”

Lin Chia-Lung noted the recent Chinese drills and called the American delegation’s visit “an important gesture of solidarity” at a critical time.

At a news conference in Taipei, chairman McCaul, highlighted that the US will continue to ensure that “no one tries to undermine the peaceful status quo and curb Taiwan’s vigorous development.”

Last week’s drills launched by China caused international concern and raised tensions in the region, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of the Republic of China (Taiwan) urging China to “exercise self-restraint and stop any actions that undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of the Republic of China (Taiwan) has noted that China on May 23 launched a two-day military drill around Taiwan called Joint Sword-2024A, escalating tensions in the region,” said the ministry.

China’s ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Wang Wenbin called the U.S. to stop conniving at or supporting “Taiwan independence” separatist forces and stop meddling in China’s internal affairs.

It urged the American lawmakers to “stop interfering in China’s internal affairs” as the joint drills of the PLA Eastern Theater Command are “a necessary and legitimate move to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, crack down on Taiwan independence separatist forces and their separatist moves and send a warning to external interference and provocation,” China’s spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a regular news conference last week.

“It is fully consistent with international law and common practices,” he noted.  

Few days later, the US Department of State issued a press statement expressing deep concern over the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s joint military drills in the Taiwan Strait and around Taiwan.

It stated that the United States was monitoring PRC activities closely and coordinating with allies and partners regarding shared concerns.

It strongly urged Beijing to act with restraint, pointing out that using a normal, routine, and democratic transition as an excuse for military provocations risked escalation and eroded long-standing norms that for decades had maintained peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

The Department of State stressed that cross-strait peace and stability were critical for regional and global security and prosperity and a matter of international concern.

Video credit: Taiwan Presidential Office