China stages patrols near Taiwan ahead of Tsai-McCarthy meeting
As tensions remain high in Eastern Asia ahead of a meeting between the US House Speaker and Taiwanese President, China conducts military patrols in two areas of the Taiwan Strait.
The Chinese Maritime Safety Administration in the province of Fujian said on Wednesday that China staged military patrols in two areas within the Taiwan Strait ahead of a meeting between US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in Los Angeles, which Beijing has demanded not to take place.
The Taiwanese team, led by Tsai, left on March 29 for a 10-day visit to two countries in Central America. The delegation visited Belize on April 3, after arriving in Guatemala on April 1 with a stopover in New York.
On her route home, the Taiwanese President will stop on Wednesday in transit in Los Angeles to meet with McCarthy on her visit to California, as per US media.
"Special joint patrol and inspection operation began today in the central and northern parts of the Taiwan Strait," the Chinese administration posted on WeChat.
The post also included a picture that showed patrol zones near Taiwan.
This comes a day after Taiwan's Defense Ministry said that China sent 20 warplanes and three warships toward Taiwan.
China not only considered the move to be a provocation, but it also warned on Wednesday that it was vehemently opposed to any meeting between Tsai and McCarthy and vowed to take "resolute measures to fight back" if it goes ahead.
The United States responded by saying that China should not use Tsai's stopover as a pretext to "act aggressively" around the Taiwan Strait.
The big picture
Tensions rose between China and Washington following then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's provocative visit to Taipei in August 2022. China considers Taiwan part of its mainland and opposes any direct official foreign contact with the island.
China announced last year that it would firmly fight against "Taiwan’s independence" and promote reunification of the island with the homeland.