With US delegation in Taipei, PLA begins encircling Taiwan
Taipei: Beijing is already ruffled by Tsai’s stay in the US where she had a meeting with the House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy and a congressional delegation, and the Eastern Theater Command of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) today announced conducting combat-readiness patrols and joint exercises encircling Taiwan starting today.
Also read: China aggressive after Tsai’s meeting with McCarthy in US
Beijing despatched 71 People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft and 9 vessels that the Taiwanese Ministry of National Defense detected by 16:00(UTC+8) today. The Chinese Foreign Ministry earlier said that “Taiwan independence” and cross-Strait peace and stability “are as irreconcilable as fire and water”.
Taiwanese defence ministry claimed in a tweet today that 45 of the detected aircraft had crossed the northern, central, and southern median line of the Taiwan Strait and entered its southwest air defence identification zone (ADIZ). It tweeted that the Taiwanese armed forces “have monitored the situation and responded accordingly with our assets to defend our country”.
71 PLA aircraft and 9 vessels were detected by 16:00(UTC+8) on April 8th. 45 of the detected aircraft had crossed northern, central, and southern median line of the Taiwan Strait and entered our southwest ADIZ. pic.twitter.com/ADpTZaoR0B
— 國防部 Ministry of National Defense, R.O.C. 🇹🇼 (@MoNDefense) April 8, 2023
“We condemn such an irrational act that has jeopardized regional security and stability,” Taiwan’s defence ministry said, adding that its armed forces “have monitored the situation and tasked Combat Air Patrol aircraft, Navy vessels, and land-based missile systems to respond to these activities.
Earlier on April 6, 2023, the Chinese defence ministry asked the USA to stop “its blatant interference in China’s internal affairs”. It asked the US to stop its official interaction with Taiwan, and warned that the PLA “will resolutely safeguard China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
Undaunted by China’s aggressive posture, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, just a day after her return from the United States which was termed a “transit” by the Americans, hosted a luncheon for a delegation led by United States House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul at the Taipei Guest House today.
Tsai told the visiting American delegation that yesterday she completed her first overseas trip since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and “Today, just after returning to Taiwan, I am delighted to be receiving our good friends from the US”.
She recalled her meetings with US House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, and many other senators and representatives during her transit in the United States and reminded McCaul of the Taiwan Assurance Implementation Act that the US Congress passed this year with an overwhelming majority, “further deepening Taiwan-US relations”.
She thanked the US Congress for fulfilling US security commitments to Taiwan through bipartisan cooperation on legislation. For example, the National Defense Authorization Act and the Consolidated Appropriations Act- 2023, include several provisions that help strengthen regional security cooperation and support Taiwan in bolstering its defences.
Without naming China, Tsai referred to its expanding authoritarianism. “Cooperation among democracies has become even more important. I would like to reiterate that the people of Taiwan love democracy, seek peace, and are keen to fulfil their responsibilities in the international community. We will continue to work with the US and other like-minded countries to jointly defend the values of freedom and democracy,” she declared.
McCaul described Tsai as a “very brave and courageous leader”. He said Taiwan’s strength, openness, and resiliency are the envy of Communist China, “for the [Chinese Communist Party] CCP fears its own people more than anything. And the oppressed people of China only need to look across the straits to see what democracy really looks like”.
He recalled that it was the United States Congress that passed the Taiwan Relations Act in 1979. “It set the direction of our relationship and guarantees that the United States will provide Taiwan arms to defend itself…As the House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, I sign off on all foreign military sales, including weapons to Taiwan. And I promise you, Madam President, we will deliver those weapons. We are doing everything we can in Congress to speed up these sales and get you the weapons that you need to defend yourself. And we will provide training to your military, not for war, but for peace,” he said.
– global bihari bureau