China responds with “combat readiness patrol” in strait

US parliamentarians arrived on the island on Thursday to support the Taiwanese authorities, viewed with suspicion by Beijing.

The Chinese army announced that it had carried out a “combat readiness patrol“In the Taiwan Strait”in responseTo the current visit of American parliamentarians to the island claimed by Beijing.

Not recognized as an independent state by the UN, Taiwan has 23 million inhabitants and enjoys a democratic political system. In recent weeks, the passes of arms have multiplied between Beijing and Washington on the fate of the territory.

In this tense context, American parliamentarians arrived on the island on Thursday to support the Taiwanese authorities, perceived with suspicion by Beijing because they seek to create a Taiwanese national identity distinct from China.

“A necessary measure”

The Chinese army carried out on Friday “a naval and air force combat readiness patrol heading for the Taiwan Strait“, Said a spokesperson for the Theater of Operations East in a statement released on the night of Friday to Saturday. “This is a necessary measure in response to the current situation in the Taiwan Strait», He clarified. “It is the sacred mission of the military to protect national sovereignty and territorial integrity.No other details were given, in particular on the ships and planes mobilized.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry had already expressed its “firm opposition“To the visit of parliamentarians who, according to him, returns”to support the Taiwanese separatists“. A first visit by American parliamentarians had already taken place in November.

Diplomatic isolation

Taiwan has been ruled since 1945 by a regime (the “Republic of China») Who had withdrawn there after the victory of the Communists in mainland China in 1949 at the end of the Chinese civil war. The “People’s Republic of China, Based in Beijing and run by the Communist Party, sees the island as part of its territory. It threatens to use force in the event of a declaration of independence.

China has stepped up its pressure on Taiwan since Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, from a traditionally pro-independence party, came to power in 2016.

Beijing tries to keep Taipei in diplomatic isolation and opposes visits by foreign political representatives because they give international legitimacy to the Taiwanese authorities. At the beginning of November, a delegation of MEPs, led by Frenchman Raphaël Glucksmann, was however received in Taipei by the Taiwanese president.

Last month, French Senator Alain Richard, former Minister of Defense, was also received by Tsai Ing-wen. He had irritated Beijing by calling the island a “country”.

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