Taiwan offers to send emergency responders to China after devastating 6.8 magnitude earthquake

The government of Taiwan has offered to send emergency responders to aid rescue efforts in China after a 6.8 magnitude earthquake devastated the country's southwestern Sichuan

province Monday. Taiwan's offer is the first olive branch extended by either country amid weeks of heightened tensions and live-fire military exercises. Taiwanese President

Tsai Ing-wen offered her "sympathy and concern" in a statement from her office. Taiwan's fire department also assembled a 40-person team with one rescue dog and 5 tonnes of

equipment, saying it was ready to deploy if China desired, Reuters reported Tuesday. The Chinese government has yet to respond. Authorities have confirmed at least 46 deaths

resulting from the earthquake. CHINA HAS REPEATEDLY SIMULATED ATTACKS ON US WARSHIPS, TAIWAN WARNS China has grown increasingly aggressive toward Taiwan following a

spate of visits to the island by U.S. lawmakers. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island in early August, the highest-level U.S. official to do so since Speaker Newt

Gingrich in 1997. China responded with weeks of military drills simulating an invasion of the island. While U.S. lawmakers have routinely visited Taiwan for years,

China has grown more vocal in its protests. The country argues the visits violate the U.S. One China Policy, which states that the U.S. recognizes the government in Beijing as the

only government of China. It also states that the U.S. will not hold formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan.