38 China military fighter jets and warplanes flew close to Taiwan, the Taiwanese defense ministry confirmed Friday.
The news comes as the most prominent flight display since the large military exercise in April, where it simulated sealing off the island.
Naval vessels were also spotted in the area as part of China’s long-running intimidation campaign against Taiwan.
China’s People’s Liberation Army protested on Friday over the flight of a United States Navy P-8A Poseidon anti-submarine patrol aircraft through the Taiwan Strait, separating mainland China from the self-governing island.
The PLA’s Eastern Theater Command scrambled fighter jets to monitor the plane’s flight after calling it a provocation that the U.S. “openly hyped up,”
Such acts “fully prove that the U.S. is a disruptor of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and a creator of security risks,” the statement said.
“Theater troops maintain a high level of alert at all times and resolutely defend national sovereignty and security as well as regional peace and stability.”
As The New York Post reported:
The U.S. 7th Fleet said Thursday’s flight was in accordance with international law and “demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
“The United States will continue to fly, sail, and operate anywhere international law allows including within the Taiwan Strait,” the statement said.
The U.S. remains Taiwan’s closest military and political ally, despite the lack of formal diplomatic ties between them. U.S. law requires Washington to treat all threats to the island as matters of “grave concern,” though it remains ambiguous over whether American forces would be dispatched to help defend the island.
Beijing has threatened to bring Taiwan under its control by force if necessary, and China’s intensely nationalistic leader Xi Jinping has sworn never to give up “a single inch” of territory claimed by his country — a pledge that applies to Taiwan, the disputed border with India, and the South China Sea that China claims almost in its entirety.
In addition to the latest Chinese warplane flights, Chinese navy vessels were spotted in the area from 6 a.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Friday, the island’s Defense Ministry said.
U.S. military officials recently said they are increasingly concerned that a massive buildup in China’s military capabilities makes the potential for a conflict more likely.
China held exercises simulating the sealing off the island after the sensitive April 5 meeting between Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen and U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California.
China opposes any exchanges between Taiwan and other governments.
Earlier in April, China held exercises simulating the sealing of the island following the meeting between Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen and U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
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