After McCarthy Meets With Taiwan Chief, a 'Serious Warning'

China sends warships, more than 70 planes near self-ruled island in apparent retaliation for meeting
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2023 5:14 AM CDT
Updated Apr 8, 2023 8:30 AM CDT
China Threatens 'Forceful' Response to McCarthy Meeting
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen deliver statements to the press after a Bipartisan Leadership Meeting at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., Wednesday, April 5, 2023.   (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
UPDATE Apr 8, 2023 8:30 AM CDT

China sent warships and dozens of fighter jets toward Taiwan Saturday, the Taiwanese government said, in retaliation for a meeting between US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Tsai Ing-wen, president of the self-ruled island democracy claimed by Beijing as part of its territory. The AP reports eight warships and 71 planes, including Chengdu J-10 and Shenyang J-11 jet fighters, were detected near Taiwan, 45 of which flew across the middle line of the strait that separates it from the mainland, per the island's Ministry of Defense. A People's Liberation Army statement called the movement "a serious warning against the collusion and provocation between the 'Taiwan independence' separatist forces and external forces." The Taiwanese military, which condemned the "irrational act," noted missile defense systems were activated and air and sea patrols sent to track the Chinese aircraft.

Apr 6, 2023 5:14 AM CDT

China, apparently making good on its threat to retaliate if Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen met House Speaker Kevin McCarthy during her US visit, launched military drills near Taiwan on Thursday, sending warships into waters around the island. Beijing had vowed to deliver a "resolute" response if the Wednesday meeting in California went ahead, the BBC reports. The New York Times notes that McCarthy is second in line to the presidency, making him the most senior American official to meet a Taiwanese leader on US soil since Washington switched recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, 30 years after Communist forces prevailed on the mainland in China's civil war and the Nationalist government fled to Taiwan.

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement early Thursday vowing to take "resolute and forceful measures to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity" and urging the US "not to walk further down a wrong and dangerous road," the AP reports. China’s Taiwan Affairs Office issued a statement describing Tsai and her government as "separatists." According to state media, Chinese forces have launched a three-day operation to inspect cargo ships and other vessels in the waters between Taiwan and mainland China.

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Taiwanese authorities said Thursday that they were monitoring Chinese forces, including a carrier strike group led by the Shandong aircraft carrier, around 200 miles from the island, reports the Guardian. Chiu Kuo-cheng, Taiwan's defense minister, said the movements were "sensitive." Chiu said the US aircraft carrier Nimitz was operating in the same area southeast of Taiwan. China launched much larger drills last year after then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island. (More China stories.)

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