Taiwan on Monday urged China to stop its "destructive unilateral actions" after detecting more than 100 Chinese planes and nine warships around Taiwan in the span of 24 hours.
“Between the morning of September 17 and 18, the Ministry of Defense detected a total of 103 Chinese aircraft, a record in recent times,” the Taiwanese ministry said.
These exits “pose serious security concerns on both sides of the Taiwan Strait and in the region,” he added in a statement.
“Continued military harassment” from China “can easily lead to a surge in tensions and deteriorate security in the region,” he warned, calling on Beijing to “immediately cease these destructive unilateral actions.”
Of the military aircraft detected, 40 crossed the median line — an unofficial demarcation between China and Taiwan that the former does not recognize — and entered the southwest Air Defense Identification Zone (Adiz) and from the southeast, according to the press release.
The Adiz, not to be confused with the airspace of a country, encompasses a much wider area in which any foreign aircraft is supposed to announce itself to local air authorities. The Adiz of Taiwan partly overlaps that of China and even includes a portion of the continent.
China's Foreign Ministry did not comment but its spokeswoman, Mao Ning, reaffirmed Beijing's position that the self-ruled island belongs to China.
“What I would like to tell you is that Taiwan is part of Chinese territory and the so-called median line does not exist,” she said.
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 ships American and Canadian through the Taiwan Strait.
According to Taiwan's Defense Ministry, 68 planes and 10 ships of the Chinese military were detected between Wednesday morning and Thursday morning near the island.
These aircraft were heading to the Western Pacific to join the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong for training.
The Shandong is one of two operational aircraft carriers in the Chinese fleet. It was detected on September 11 about 60 nautical miles (111 kilometers) southeast of the southernmost point of the island.
According to experts, this show of force is a response to recent military exercises in the region, such as the ongoing maneuvers in the Yellow Sea, located between the Korean Peninsula and China, in which the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea, as well as the "Super Garuda Shield", an exercise bringing together 19 nations.
“Politically, China seeks to counter the military strategy of democratic allies led by the United States,” Su Tzu-yun, an analyst at the Taiwan Institute for National Defense and Security Research, told AFP. .
Beijing has stepped up threats and political and economic pressure on Taiwan since President Tsai Ing-wen came to power in 2016, from a party advocating a formal declaration of independence for the island.
In April, Beijing conducted military exercises simulating an encirclement of the island, after a meeting between the Taiwanese president and the Speaker of the American House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy in California.
Taiwan then detected 71 fighter jets in 24 hours, matching a record deployment from December 2022.
In August 2022, Beijing launched gigantic military maneuvers around Taiwan after the visit to Taipei of Nancy Pelosi, then speaker of the American House of Representatives.
Taiwan began regularly publishing data on China's aerial incursions in September 2020.
Initially, they only concerned the number of outings in the southwest part of the Adiz.
Taipei then listed the number of aircraft detected "around Taiwan", distinguishing between those crossing the median line or those entering the Adiz.
18/09/2023 15:04:02 - Taipei (AFP) - © 2023 AFP