Rob Garver | Voice of America
Six U.S. lawmakers visited Taiwan on Friday, expressing strong support for the island’s sovereignty and promising that the United States will help it resist efforts by the Chinese government to exert authority over what Beijing views as a part of “one China.”
The visit prompted a strong reaction from the Chinese government, which had requested that the five senators and one representative not visit Taiwan. In addition to official statements condemning the visit, the government in Beijing ordered large-scale military drills in the waters near Taiwan, including sending aircraft on combat alert patrols and conducting maritime assault drills.
Senior Colonel Shi Yi, spokesperson for the People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command, said in a statement, “Those who play with fire will burn themselves. The command troops always maintain high alert and will firmly safeguard national sovereignty and security and regional peace and stability.”
The delegation included Senator Robert Menendez, the New Jersey Democrat who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina; Senator Richard Burr, Republican of North Carolina; Senator Robert Portman, Republican of Ohio; Senator Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska; and Representative Ronny Jackson, Republican of Texas.
Among other things, members of the U.S. delegation criticized China for what they characterized as its continued support for Russia in the face of that country’s invasion of Ukraine. They also drew parallels between Russia’s actions and the possibility that China might attempt to assert control over Taiwan by force.