Taiwan’s military detected 40 Chinese warplanes crossing the median line on Monday, and another 27 to follow the next day.
Taiwan’s government has urged the Chinese regime to cease its “military harassment” after spotting over 100 Chinese warplanes near the island, warning that such “destructive” actions could potentially escalate tensions.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) sent 103 warplanes and nine vessels toward Taiwan within a 24-hour period between Sept. 17 and Sept. 18, with 40 of the detected aircraft spotted crossing the median line of the Taiwan Strait.
Another 55 Chinese warplanes and seven vessels were spotted near the self-ruling island on Sept. 19, with 27 planes spotted entering the southwest of Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ).
In both incidents, the Taiwanese military deployed aircraft and vessels to monitor the Chinese military’s movement. Taiwan’s defense ministry said the surge in Chinese warplanes poses “severe challenges” to regional security.
“The Communist Army’s persistent military harassment can easily result in a sharp increase in tensions and worsen regional security,” the ministry said in a statement on Sept. 18.
“We call on the Beijing authorities to take responsibility and immediately stop such destructive unilateral actions,” it added.
Commenting on Taiwan’s claims, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said, “There is no so-called median line in the Taiwan Strait.” The CCP claims Taiwan is a breakaway province that must be united with mainland China and vows to use military force to achieve this goal. Taiwan has been a self-governing democracy since the Chinese Civil War ended in 1949 and has never been controlled by the CCP.
The recent actions may be an attempt to sway Taiwan’s presidential election in January. Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said the CCP seeks to interfere in Taiwan’s elections amid China’s economic slowdown.
“The PRC [People’s Republic of China] economy is definitely not good, but China still seems interested in meddling in Taiwan’s national elections,” Mr. Wu wrote on X.
Mr. Wu said the CCP’s actions “cannot change the minds” of Taiwanese voters, nor will it benefit Beijing in any way. “In all seriousness, this won’t help them or anyone else,” he said.
Beijing has conducted increasingly large military drills in the air and waters around Taiwan as tensions have grown between the two nations and between China and the United States. The United States is Taiwan’s main supplier of arms and opposes any attempt to change Taiwan’s status by force.
The CCP last week sent a flotilla of ships, including the aircraft carrier Shandong, into waters near Taiwan. The drills came shortly after the United States and Canada sailed warships through the Taiwan Strait, the waters that separate the island from mainland China.
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