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China threatens to ‘crush’ Taiwan after new US delegation visit

China has carried out new military drills near Taiwan to show its displeasure at the visit of more US politicians to Taipei.

Less than two weeks after speaker Nancy Pelosi became the most senior American official in 25 years to travel to the island, a delegation led by Democratic senator Ed Markey touched down on Sunday.

On Monday, the group of five US politicians met Taiwanese prime Tsai Ing-wen, who later said her government remained committed to maintaining stability in the region.

Incensed by what it considers to be American meddling, Beijing was quick to flex its military muscles and to issue a verbal threat, vowing to “crush” resistance in Taiwan, which it sees as a de facto part of China.

The Chinese military confirmed on Monday that it had performed military manoeuvres near Taiwan’s Penghu islands in response to Mr Markey and his colleagues’ trip to the island’s capital. Earlier this month, China conducted four days of large-scale drills in the Taiwan Strait - including the launch of ballistic missiles - following Ms Pelosi’s visit.

Speaking about the most recent exercises, it added that they were designed to be “a stern deterrent” to the US and Taiwan, whom Beijing accused of undermining peace.

In a separate statement, China’s defence ministry said: “The Chinese People’s Liberation Army continues to train and prepare for war, resolutely defends national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and will resolutely crush any form of ‘Taiwan independence’ separatism and foreign interference.”

Taiwanese premier Su Tseng-chang said such intimidatory tactics from Beijing would not stop visits from representatives from other countries.

Echoing this message, Joseph Wu, the island’s foreing minister, tweeted: “Authoritarian China can’t dictate how democratic Taiwan makes friends.”

Lo Chih-Cheng, another senior Taiwenese politician who met the most recent US delegation, said: “Their visit at this time is of great significance, because the Chinese military exercise is (intended) to deter US congressmen from visiting Taiwan.

“Their visit this time proves that China cannot stop politicians from any country visiting Taiwan, and it also conveys an important message that the American people stand with the Taiwanese people.”

Last week, a deputy assistant to US president Joe Biden said China had blown Ms Pelosi’s trip out of proportion and was wrong to jeopardise peace.

“China has overreacted, and its actions continue to be provocative, destabilising, and unprecedented,” Kurt Campbell said.