China’s military sent 71 planes and seven ships to Taiwan in a 24-hour show of force targeting the self-ruled island, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said on Monday, after China expressed outrage at the Taiwan-related provisions in an annual US defense spending bill.
China’s military harassment of Taiwan, which it claims is its own territory, has intensified in recent years, with the Communist Party’s People’s Liberation Army sending planes or ships to the island almost daily.
Between 6 a.m. Sunday and 6 a.m. Monday, 47 of the Chinese planes crossed the middle of the Taiwan Strait, an unofficial boundary tacitly accepted by both sides, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense .
THE MINISTRY OF DEFENSE SAYS THE MINISTRY OF DEFENSE
Among the aircraft that China sent to Taiwan were 18 J-16 fighter jets, 11 J-1 fighters, 6 Su-30 fighters and drones.
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Taiwan said it was monitoring Chinese movements through its land-based missile systems as well as on its own navy ships.
“This is a firm response to the current escalation and provocation between the US and Taiwan,” Shi Yi, the spokesman for the PLA’s Eastern Theater Command, said in a statement late Sunday. He announced that the PLA was conducting joint combat patrols and joint strike drills in the waters around Taiwan.
Shi was referring to the US defense spending bill, which calls China a strategic challenge. Regarding the Indo-Pacific region, the legislation authorizes greater security cooperation with Taiwan and requires expanded cooperation with India in emerging defense technologies, readiness and logistics.
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In Washington, a White House National Security Council official said China’s military activity near Taiwan was “destabilizing, risks miscalculation and undermines regional peace and stability.” .
The official, who was not authorized to be identified and spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “The United States has an abiding interest in peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. We will continue to help Taiwan maintain a capability of sufficient self-defense . . . consistent with our long-standing commitments and consistent with our one-China policy.”
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China’s military has often used large-scale military exercises as a show of force in response to the US government’s actions in support of Taiwan.
It conducted large-scale live-fire military exercises in August in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. Beijing views visits by foreign governments to the island as a de facto recognition of the island as independent and a challenge to China’s claim to sovereignty.