The Taiwanese Foreign Ministry confirmed the visit, saying the trip was organized by the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto US embassy in Taipei. He did not reveal the names of the legislators involved in the visit, nor their itinerary.
In a statement, China’s National Defense Ministry condemned the United States for “seriously interfering in China’s internal affairs” and said it should stop “provocative actions” that may increase tensions in the Taiwan Strait.
“(The United States) must refrain from sending the wrong signals to the forces of ‘Taiwan independence’,” the statement read. “The People’s Liberation Army will always be on high alert and will take all necessary measures to resolutely crush any interference by foreign forces and separatist attempts.”
Beijing views the autonomous island as an inseparable part of its territory, even though the two sides have been ruled separately for more than seven decades.
The visit comes as China conducted what it characterized as a “combat readiness patrol” near the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday.
The drills were carried out to “further enhance the joint combat capabilities of multiple military services and branches,” Major Colonel Shi Yi, spokesman for the PLA’s Eastern Theater Command, said, according to the state tabloid Global Times.
“This drill is aimed at seriously wrong movements and comments by a certain country on the Taiwan issue and the activities of Taiwan secessionists, and is a necessary measure to safeguard the sovereignty of the country,” Shi said.
In a press release late Tuesday, the Taiwanese Ministry of National Defense reported that six Chinese fighter jets entered its southwest ADIZ that day.
When asked about the trip, US State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters: “It is not our practice to confirm or speak to congressional delegations.”
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters Tuesday that the visit was made by a delegation from the US Congress and that “it is not unusual” for them to travel on a military plane.
“Visits by the congressional delegation to Taiwan are quite routine,” Kirby said, adding that the trip was “in accordance with our obligations under the Taiwan Relations Act, which has been supported by multiple administrations, both Democratic and Republican. , reinforcing our requirement to help Taiwan. ” with your self-defense needs. “
The United States also maintains military ties to the island. On Tuesday, the Taiwanese Ministry of National Defense said that a total of 618 US personnel visited Taiwan on military exchange programs between September 2019 and August 2021.
In its defense report, released once every two years, the ministry said the exchange programs were aimed at boosting Taiwan’s national security, defense strategy and military operations, and said deepening military cooperation with USA.
According to the report, 542 Taiwanese also visited the United States on 175 military exchange programs during the same period.