On Thursday, 37 Chinese military aircraft entered Taiwan’s air defense zone, with some subsequently flying into the western Pacific, prompting the island nation to activate its air defense systems.
As per the Taiwanese defense ministry, about 37 of Xi Jinping’s military planes, including J-11 and J-16 fighters as well as nuclear-capable H-6 bombers, were flying in the southwestern corner of Taipei’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), reported Reuters.
The Ministry of National Defense said some Chinese aircraft also entered Taiwan’s southeast and crossed the western Pacific to perform “air surveillance and long-distance navigation training.”
The island nation, where Beijing claims sovereignty, said its aircraft and ships were keeping a watch, and it activated land-based missile systems.
This came after Laura Rosenberger, the chair of the American Institute in Taiwan – responsible for managing the unofficial relationship between Washington and Taipei – visited the island this week.
During her visit, Rosenberger on Monday told the media that the U.S. maintains a lasting commitment to ensuring stability in the Taiwan Strait and would continue to provide military support to Taiwan — an issue that has consistently strained relations between Beijing and Washington.
“PRC ‘continues to conduct alarming number of risky intercepts of US and allied aircraft flying lawfully in international airspace,'” said Ishaan Tharor, a columnist for the Washington Post. “We do not seek conflict or confrontation, but we will not flinch in face of coercion and bullying”
The incident marked Beijing’s most recent large-scale incursion into the region, further intensifying the situation.
Under Xi, Beijing has massively ramped up military and political pressure to try and get Taipei to accept its sovereignty, including staging war games near the island and warplanes into Taiwan’s air defense zone.
China considers Taiwan a renegade province and has not ruled out using force to take control.
“The United States will continue to fly, sail, and operate – safely and responsibly – wherever international law allows, and the U.S. Indo-Pacific Joint Force will continue to fly in international airspace with due regard for the safety of all vessels and aircraft under international law,” said the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in a statement.
The tension between the U.S. and China have been high over the territory of Taiwan.
Produced in association with Benzinga
Edited by Alberto Arellano and Kyana Jeanin Rubinfeld