Taipei reported that China dispatched warships and aircraft near Taiwan for a second consecutive day on Friday. This move came after Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen met with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, which angered Beijing.
According to Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense, three Chinese warships sailed in the waters surrounding the self-governing island. Additionally, a fighter jet and an anti-submarine helicopter crossed the island’s air defense identification zone.
On Wednesday, China’s Shandong aircraft carrier had already sailed through Taiwan’s southeastern waters on its way to the western Pacific, a few hours before Tsai met with McCarthy in Los Angeles.
Before leaving Los Angeles, Tsai informed reporters that her government was dedicated to preserving “the free and democratic way of life of the people of Taiwan.” She also expressed her hope to “maintain peace and stability between the two sides.”
Beijing had previously cautioned against the meeting and issued another firm rebuke on Thursday. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning warned that “China will take firm and forceful measures to firmly safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
In August of the previous year, China deployed warships, missiles, and fighter jets into the waters and skies around Taiwan in its most significant show of force in years following a trip to the island by McCarthy’s predecessor, Nancy Pelosi.
While the response to the Tsai-McCarthy meeting has been much less severe, it has still put Taiwan on alert. Premier Chen Chien-jen assured the public on Friday that Taiwan’s defense and security agencies were keeping a close watch on the situation and urged them to “rest assured.”
According to Taiwan’s defense ministry, on Thursday, three warships were detected around the Taiwan Strait, and a Chinese naval helicopter crossed the island’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ).
The display of force by China provoked a response from the United States, with calls for China to halt its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure against Taiwan and engage in constructive diplomacy.
“We are committed to maintaining open communication channels to prevent any miscalculations,” stated Vedant Patel, the spokesperson for the US State Department.
Initially, US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy had intended to visit Taiwan, but he instead met with President Tsai in California.
The decision was seen as a compromise, with the intention of demonstrating support for Taiwan while avoiding further escalation of tensions with China. Analysts believe this move has been successful so far.