Taiwan says Chinese warplanes entered its airspace on Wednesday and Thursday during large-scale war games that it called a “serious provocation to Taiwan and a grave threat to regional peace and stability”.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry said Thursday that its military is fully aware of actions by China’s military aircraft and “responds effectively,” without giving details.
China says the self-governing democracy of 23 million people is its own territory and has been stepping up its threat to bring the island under its control by military force with frequent war games and aerial patrols.
Taiwan said such actions by China’s People’s Liberation Army threaten the entire region and urged the international community to respond.
“Today, the PLA has chosen to conduct exercises near Taiwan; tomorrow it may engage in similar threats near other countries,” the ministry said in a statement.
China cut contacts with Taiwan’s government following the 2016 election of independence-minded President Tsai Ing-wen, who was re-elected this year, and has sought to isolate her diplomatically while ratcheting up political, military and economic pressure.
The latest moves come at a low point in relations between Beijing and Washington, Taiwan’s chief ally and weapons provider.
The US is legally bound to treat threats to the island as a matter of grave concern. That introduces a greater level of risk with the possibility that the US could be swiftly brought into any conflict between Taiwan and China.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has said the question of Taiwan’s annexation cannot be put off indefinitely, while at the same time he is aggressively pursuing China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea, along the border with India and in the East China Sea where China claims uninhabited islands controlled by Japan.