TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan’s defense ministry said Monday that the Chinese military sent 71 aircraft and seven ships to Taiwan in a 24-hour force campaign against the self-governing island after China expressed anger over U.S. rules related to the island. Presentation of the annual defense spending bill.
China’s military harassment of Taiwan, which it claims as its own, has intensified in recent years, with the Communist Party’s People’s Liberation Army sending planes or ships to the island almost daily.
From 6 a.m. Sunday to 6 a.m. Monday, 47 Chinese aircraft flew over the center line of the Taiwan Strait, an unofficial border that was once tacitly accepted by both sides, according to Taiwan’s defense ministry.
The aircraft China sent to Taiwan included 18 J-16 fighter jets, 11 J-1 fighter jets, 6 Su-30 fighter jets and drones.
Taiwan says it monitors China’s actions with land-based missile systems as well as its own naval vessels.
“This is a resolute response to the current escalated provocations by the US and Taiwan,” Shi Yi, a spokesman for the PLA’s Eastern Theater Command, said in a statement late Sunday. It announced that the PLA is holding joint combat patrols and joint strike exercises in waters surrounding Taiwan.
Shi was referring to the U.S. defense spending bill, which calls China a strategic challenge. In the Indo-Pacific region, legislation mandates increased security cooperation with Taiwan and calls for expanded cooperation with India on emerging defense technologies, readiness, and logistics.
In Washington, a White House National Security Council official said China’s military activities near Taiwan were “destabilizing, risking miscalculation and undermining regional peace and stability”.
“The United States has an abiding interest in peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. We will continue to assist Taiwan maintain sufficient self-defense capabilities consistent with our Long-term commitment and our One China policy.”
The Chinese military has often responded to U.S. government support for Taiwan with large-scale military exercises.
In response to a visit to Taiwan by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, it held a large live-fire military exercise in August. Beijing sees foreign government visits to the island as de facto recognition of the island’s independence and a challenge to China’s claims to sovereignty.
AP White House correspondent Zeke Miller in Washington contributed to this report.
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