China’s military sent more than 150 warplanes to Taiwan this week in an unprecedented military action that the island’s government quickly condemned as “harassment.”
On Monday, the Chinese mainland army, known officially as the People’s Liberation Army, flew 103 warplanes near and over the island over a 24-hour period, which the Ministry of Defense Island defense qualified as a new recent record. On Tuesday, 55 additional PLA aircraft were detected near the island by the Taiwanese Republic of China Armed Forces.
The Ministry of National Defense said 40 of those planes invaded Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, the symbolic median line between mainland China and the island. They included more than 30 combat aircraft as well as aerial refueling aircraft. On Tuesday, another 27 fighter jets crossed the ADIZ.
“We urge the Beijing authorities to assume their responsibilities and immediately stop this type of destructive military activities,” Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said in a statement, calling the Chinese military action “harassment” that could s intensify in the current tense atmosphere.
China deploys more than 40 planes across Taiwan Strait, gathers forces at coastal military bases, Taiwan warns
China, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory, sends warplanes to the self-ruled island almost daily, but usually in smaller numbers. As is usual, they turned around before reaching Taiwan.
Asked about this activity, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said there was no “median line” because the island of Taiwan, although autonomous, is officially recognized as part of Chinese territory.
China and Russia send warships near Alaska, triggering forceful US response
Most members of the international community, including the United States, formally recognize the “one China” policy, although President Biden has said the United States would respond if China invaded the island – a comment that the White House later backtracked on.
In recent months, China has continued its aggressive efforts to expand its influence across the Pacific, which includes increasingly large military exercises in the air and waters around Taiwan. The United States is Taiwan’s main arms supplier and opposes any attempt to change Taiwan’s status by force.
The Chinese government would prefer Taiwan voluntarily come under its autonomous control and last week unveiled a plan for an integrated development demonstration zone in Fujian province.
The move was likely aimed at attracting the Taiwanese, even as it threatens the island militarily, in what experts say is China’s long-standing carrot-and-stick approach. China could also try to influence Taiwan’s presidential election in January.
The ruling Democratic Progressive Party, which leans toward formal independence for the island, is anathema to China’s leaders. Instead, China favors opposition candidates who advocate collaboration with the mainland.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Taiwan and China separated in a civil war in 1949, when the communists took control of mainland China. The losing nationalists fled to Taiwan and were allowed to establish their own government on the island.
Only a few foreign nations grant the island official diplomatic recognition.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.