China’s huge military drills around Taiwan have only made allies more determined to visit the island democracy and show solidarity, Taipei’s foreign minister Joseph Wu said Friday.
Beijing staged the unprecedented sea and air drills in retaliation for US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan this month, sending tensions to their highest level in decades.
Three US politicians have visited in Pelosi’s wake, the latest being Tennessee senator Marsha Blackburn who met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Friday.
“We will not stop making friends just because of the Chinese threats against Taiwan,” Wu told a briefing with foreign media.
Taiwan lives under constant threat of an invasion by China, which claims the self-ruled island as part of its territory to be seized one day — by force if necessary.
Beijing lashes out at any diplomatic action that might lend Taiwan legitimacy and has responded with growing anger to visits by Western officials and politicians.
Wu said China’s show of force had been counter-productive and “there will be more” visits to Taiwan by international dignitaries.
“Because of the military pressure that China has demonstrated against Taiwan, there are more people than ever who want to come and show their support,” Wu said.
“A lot of international friends have already told us that they are very interested to come to Taiwan and the purpose is very simple — just to show solidarity.”
Blackburn, a Republican and staunch supporter of former US president Donald Trump, has said her trip was designed “to send a message to Beijing — we will not be bullied”.
“These warm acts of kindness and firm demonstrations of support have reinforced Taiwan’s determination to defend itself,” Tsai said in her meeting with Blackburn.
Another congressional delegation led by Senator Ed Markey visited Taiwan shortly after Pelosi while China was still holding its military exercises.
Then this week Indiana’s Republican governor Eric Holcomb arrived on the heels of the announcement of trade talks between Washington and Taipei in the coming months.
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