(PatriotWise.com)- Last Thursday, a congressional delegation led by Senator Lindsey Graham traveled to Taiwan to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen and her foreign and defense ministers. Naturally, Beijing responded to the visit by launching a series of live-fire military exercises in the Taiwan Strait.
Graham was joined by New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez, the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Republican Senators Richard Burr (NC), Rob Portman (OH), and Ben Sasse (NE), along with Republican Congressman Ronny Jackson of Texas.
While there, Senator Graham tweeted that the people of Taiwan are “great allies of the United States” and described Taiwan as “a beacon of freedom in a troubled region.”
On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian denounced the congressional visit during his daily briefing, saying that Beijing remains “firmly opposed to any form of official exchanges” between Taiwan and the United States. Zhao demanded that the United States cease all further official visits to Taiwan and warned against the US “going further down the dangerous path.”
Zhao said China would continue taking strong measures “to resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
On Friday, the People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command announced that it had conducted a series of live-fire military drills in the Taiwan Strait in response to the United States’ “deliberate provocation.”
That same day, Zhao Lijian said the drills were a “countermeasure” to the “recent negative actions” of the United States.
As the US delegation was departing Taipai for Japan on Friday, Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry called Beijing’s response to the visit “absurd.” In a statement, the Foreign Ministry said China’s military threats would only strengthen the Taiwan people’s “determination to defend freedom and democracy” while attracting “more support” for Taiwan both from the United States and “other democratic partners.”
The Foreign Ministry ended its statement by reiterating that Taiwan “is not under the jurisdiction of totalitarian China.”
Earlier this year, Beijing accused the United States of attempting to create a Pacific version of NATO.
Russia’s ongoing actions in Ukraine have increased fears of a possible Chinese invasion of the island nation.