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China says conducted readiness patrol as US lawmakers visit Taiwan

Published: Updated:

China’s military said on Tuesday it conducted a combat readiness patrol in the direction of the Taiwan Strait, after its defense ministry condemned a visit to Taiwan by a US Congressional delegation it said had arrived on a military aircraft.

The patrol was aimed at the “seriously wrong” words and actions of “relevant countries” on the Taiwan issue and the activities of pro-independence forces in Taiwan, a Chinese military spokesperson said in a statement.

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Cross-strait tensions have been rising in recent months, with Taiwan complaining for a year or more of repeated missions by China’s air force near the self-ruled island.

Several Taiwan media outlets reported on Tuesday that unspecified members from both the US House of Representatives and Senate had arrived in Taipei on Tuesday evening on a US military plane.

Taiwan’s presidential office declined to comment. The American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto US embassy in the absence of formal diplomatic ties, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

China’s defense ministry said in a statement that members of the US Congress had arrived in Taiwan by military plane.

“We firmly oppose and strongly condemn this,” it said.

China has not ruled out using force to bring Taiwan under its control, despite the island’s claim that it is an independent country that will defend its freedom and democracy.

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