Chinese warplanes again made sorties in record numbers close to Taiwan on Monday, continuing their display of military might over the past four days.
People’s Liberation Army aircraft conducted 56 flights near Taiwan on Monday, with 52 fighter jets detected during daylight hours and another four at night, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said on Twitter. It follows the transit of Taiwan’s air defense identification zone by 16 Chinese aircraft on Sunday, 39 on Saturday and 38 on Friday.
The flights came as China holds National Day celebrations to mark the 72nd anniversary of the People’s Republic’s founding. Beijing views Taiwan -- a democratically-governed island -- as its territory.
Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council strongly protested the actions by the Chinese warplanes and demanded Beijing stop the incursions, it said in a statement late Monday. The council said China’s provocations have damaged stability in the Taiwan Strait and increased regional tensions.
Taiwanese patrols issued radio warnings and deployed air defense missile systems to monitor the activity by the Chinese planes.
In Washington, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said China should cease its “provocative military activity near Taiwan, saying it’s “destabilizing, risks miscalculations and undermines a regional peace and stability. She called the US commitment to Taiwan “rock-solid and said “we will continue to assist Taiwan in maintaining a sufficient self-defense capability. The US is “conveying clear messages through diplomatic channels, she said.
The shows of force follow Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office issuing an angry denunciation of Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu on its official Weibo account. China derided his efforts to strengthen Taiwan’s international relations as “shrilling and moaning, and “the buzzing of flies.
Wu asserted in a Sept. 27 speech to the Hoover Institution in the US that Taiwan is under constant threat from China, including gray zone tactics and information security attacks. China is attempting to lure Taiwan’s diplomatic allies and exclude it from important international organizations, Wu said.
Taiwan has also warned that peace in the region is key to the island’s ability to ensure a continuous supply of the semiconductors needed to power a wide range of products from cars to smartphones. That’s as governments around the world scramble to secure sufficient chips from Taiwan to accelerate a post-COVID economic rebound.