China Conducts Combat Readiness Patrol As Lawmakers Visit Taiwan

( A delegation of US lawmakers from both the House and the Senate arrived in Taipei, Taiwan via military transport last Monday. And in response, China conducted a combat readiness patrol in the direction of the Taiwan Strait.

According to Taiwan’s defense ministry, six Chinese military aircraft, including four J-16 fighter jets and two surveillance planes, entered its southwestern air defense zone on Tuesday.

The Chinese military confirmed on Tuesday that it had conducted this patrol after it condemned the US Congressional delegation’s visit, explaining that the patrol was aimed at the “seriously wrong” words and actions from “relevant countries” over the issue of Taiwan and the activities of the pro-independence forces.

Tensions have been rising in recent months as China has increased its military exercises in the Taiwan Strait.

While it is unclear how many members of Congress were in the delegation, Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang told reporters on Wednesday that US/Taiwan relations are “very important” and he respects “mutual visits between friends.”

But China’s defense ministry said in a statement that they “firmly oppose and strongly condemn” the lawmakers’ visit.

According to Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, this was the second such congressional trip to Taiwan this year, however, he would not provide details on what lawmakers were on this trip.

In June, three US Senators traveled to Taiwan aboard a US military craft for a brief weekend visit. At the time, China’s defense ministry denounced the trip, calling it a “vile political provocation” that was “irresponsible” and “dangerous.”

Last Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told a New York Times forum that the US position concerning Taiwan is that the island nation, which Beijing claims as part of China, must have the means to defend itself. Blinken said the best deterrent against “any very, very, very unfortunate action” is to ensure Taiwan has “a credible self-defense capability.”

The Biden administration, however, remains cagey about what the US is prepared to do should China take such “very, very, very unfortunate action.”