(Taipei) More than a hundred Chinese aircraft and nine warships were detected around Taiwan in the space of 24 hours, the island’s authorities reported on Monday, the highest number recorded recently.
“Between September 17 and 18 morning, the Ministry of Defense detected a total of 103 Chinese aircraft, which is a record in a recent (period) and poses serious security problems on both sides of the Taiwan Strait and in the region,” the report stated. the ministry said in a statement.
“Continued military harassment” by China “can easily lead to increased tensions and deterioration of security in the region,” the ministry warned, calling on Beijing to “immediately cease these destructive unilateral actions.”
Of the number of military aircraft detected, 40 crossed the median line – an unofficial demarcation between China and Taiwan that the former does not recognize – and entered the Air Defense Identification Zone (Adiz), to the south-west and southeast, according to the note. of press. . Nine Chinese warships were also sighted around the island.
Adiz, not to be confused with a country’s airspace, covers a much broader area in which any foreign aircraft must announce itself to local air authorities. Taiwan’s Adiz partly overlaps that of China and even includes a part of the mainland.
Last week, Taipei reported a growing number of incursions by Chinese planes and warships, after Beijing said its soldiers remained “constantly on high alert” following the passage of two American and Canadian ships through the Taiwan Strait.
Silence from Beijing
According to the Taiwanese Ministry of Defense, between Wednesday and Thursday morning, 68 aircraft and 10 ships of the Chinese army were detected near the island.
These aircraft were headed to the Western Pacific to join the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong for training, he said.
Shandong is one of two operational aircraft carriers in the Chinese fleet. She was detected on Monday about 60 nautical miles (111 kilometers) southeast of the island’s southernmost point.
Japan’s Defense Ministry also announced Wednesday that its navy had detected six ships, including frigates, destroyers, a fast combat support ship and the Shandong, sailing in waters 650 kilometers south of Miyakojima island, located east of Taiwan.
According to this source, fighter jets and helicopters have also been seen taking off and landing from Shandong.
So far, China has not commented on these maneuvers.
The Chinese government considers the autonomous island part of its territory that it has promised to one day reunify, by force if necessary.
Beijing has stepped up its threats and political and economic pressure on Taiwan since President Tsai Ing-wen came to power in 2016, by a party that advocates a formal declaration of independence for the island.
Last April, Beijing carried out military exercises simulating a siege of the island, following a meeting between the Taiwanese president and the speaker of the US House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, in California.
Taiwan then spotted 71 fighter jets in 24 hours, equivalent to a record deployment reached in December 2022.
In August 2022, the Chinese army launched gigantic military maneuvers around Taiwan following the visit to Taipei of Nancy Pelosi, then speaker of the House of Representatives in the US Congress.