TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) – China flew a record 28 fighter jets to the autonomous island of Taiwan on Tuesday, the island’s Defense Ministry said, the largest show of force since Beijing started sending planes almost daily last year.
The Taiwanese Air Force deployed its combat air patrol forces in response and monitored the situation in the southwestern part of the island’s air defense identification area with its air defense systems, said the Ministry of National Defense.
The planes included various types of fighter jets, including 14 J-16s and six J-11s, as well as bombers, the ministry said.
China’s show of force comes after leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized countries issued a statement on Sunday calling for a peaceful resolution of Taiwan’s cross-strait issues and underscoring the importance of peace and stability.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Tuesday that the G-7 “is deliberately interfering in China’s internal affairs.”
“China’s determination to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests is unwavering,” he said.
Taiwan and China separated in a civil war in 1949, but China continues to claim Taiwan as part of its territory. Taiwan has been autonomous since then.
Since the election of President Tsai Ing-wen in 2016, China has increased diplomatic and military pressure on the government for its refusal to accept China’s insistence that the island be considered part of Chinese territory. .
The vast majority of Taiwanese reject the prospect of a political union with China under the “one country, two systems” framework used for Hong Kong.
Since last year, China has flown fighter jets to the island almost daily in what it calls a show of its seriousness in defending its national sovereignty.
Previously, the largest such maneuver took place in March, when China sent 25 fighter jets to Taiwan.