On Thursday, a team of US congressmen led by outspoken China critics Bob Menendez and Lindsey Graham arrived in Taiwan for a two-day visit as Beijing promised “serious measures” in retaliation.
The delegation of six US lawmakers is the latest in a long line of foreign politicians who have visited Taiwan in defiance of Beijing’s efforts to isolate the island nation.
According to Taiwan’s foreign ministry, US congressmen met with President Tsai Ing-wen, Foreign Affairs Minister Joseph Wu, and defence officials.
During the visit, Beijing has urged the United States not to play with fire over Taiwan, describing the recent visit by Congress delegates to the self-ruled island as a premeditated provocation that ignored mainland China’s strong opposition.
After a surprise trip to Taiwan to demonstrate bipartisan and White House support for the island in the event of an assault by the People’s Liberation Army, the warning was issued.
In a statement on Friday, spokeswoman for Beijing’s defence ministry, Wu Qian said “Taiwan is an inseparable part of China’s territory, and any involvement by any foreign [force] is intolerable.”
However, Lithuania’s recent decision to allow Taiwan to open a representative office under its own name prompted Beijing to initiate a trade war against Vilnius, which has enraged the European Union.