China expressed opposition on Friday in response to comments from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who cited the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine as a reason for ties to the U.S.
On Friday morning, several U.S. lawmakers, including Senators Lindsey Graham, Richard Burr, Robert Portman, Benjamin Sasse and Robert Menendez, traveled to Taiwan to meet with Tsai and Taiwan’s minister of defense, the Associated Press reported. During their meeting, Tsai spoke about the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine and said that it “has proven that democracies must bolster their alliances.”
“Collectively, we can defend ourselves from the threats posed by authoritarian nations that seek to disrupt regional peace,” Tsai said in a statement.
In response to the delegation traveling to Taiwan, the People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command in China conducted military exercises near Taiwan.
During a press conference on Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian criticized the delegation’s visit to Taiwan and said, “The relevant moves by the Chinese army are a countermeasure to the US negative actions recently, including the lawmakers’ visit to Taiwan.”
China continues to claim that Taiwan is part of its own territory and opposes any interactions between Taiwan and other foreign nations, which Zhao spoke about during Friday’s press conference.
“China firmly opposes any form of official interaction between the US and the Taiwan region. Members of the US Congress should act in consistence with the US government’s one-China policy. The US side should abide by the one-China principle and the stipulations of the three China-US joint communiqués, stop official exchanges with Taiwan and avoid making irresponsible remarks,” Zhao said. “The Chinese side will continue to take strong measures to resolutely safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Zhao made similar comments on Thursday, saying that the U.S. should ” avoid going further down the dangerous path,” and cease official interactions with Taiwan.
According to the Associated Press, China’s Eastern Theater Command said in a statement that “Taiwan is a sacred and inalienable part of Chinese territory. There is no room for any foreign interference on the Taiwan issue.”
The military exercises were also described by the Eastern Theater Command as “a necessary action…to safeguard national sovereignty,” the Associated Press reported.
Amid the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, dozens of nations across the globe, including Taiwan have condemned Russia as well as imposing sanctions on the Russian economy. China has yet to explicitly condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but has continued to call for peace between both sides.