There has been a notable rise in China’s military operations around Taiwan in East Asia. This includes the passage of at least nine aircraft across the sensitive median line of the Taiwan Strait and the deployment of warships in close proximity to the region.
Taiwan’s defence ministry said it noticed the increased activity on Sunday morning (Nov 19).
The aircraft involved included Su-30 and J-10 fighters, as well as early warning and electronic warfare aircraft, the ministry said. The aircraft were accompanying Chinese warships carrying out “joint combat readiness patrols”, it added.
China’s aggression in the Taiwan Strait comes just days after its President Xi Jinping met with US President Joe Biden in San Francisco on the sidelines of the APEC Summit.
Taiwan was one of the biggest focuses of the discussions that took place. Xi told Biden during their four-hour meeting on Wednesday that Taiwan was the biggest, most dangerous issue in US-China ties, according to a senior US official.
Although China didn’t issue any clarification after Taiwan’s allegations, its earlier statement released in September said the purpose of such military exercises was to “resolutely combat the arrogance of Taiwan independence separatist forces and their actions to seek independence.”
“The provocation of Taiwan independence continues all day long, and the actions of the People’s Liberation Army to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity are always ongoing,” said China’s Taiwan Affairs office spokesperson Zhu Fenglian.
“I hope that the majority of Taiwanese compatriots will clearly distinguish between right and wrong, resolutely oppose Taiwan independence, and work with us to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” she had added.
Taiwan’s democratically elected government says only the island’s people can decide their future and has repeatedly offered talks with China, which Beijing has rejected.
It must be noted that elections are due in Taiwan the next year, on 13 January. Taiwan’s ties with China are an important issue in the island’s presidential elections.
Over the last few years, China has staged large-scale military exercises near the island nation, while also reiterating its opposition to the strengthening of Taiwan’s military and economic ties with the US.