In one of its largest military shows so far this year, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) flew 68 airplanes over Taiwan as 10 of its navy ships circled the island.
China’s bluster comes just a few weeks after the US transferred equipment to the self-governing island for the first time ever.
Since the island’s declaration of independence from the Chinese Communist Party in 1949, Beijing has maintained that Taiwan is a part of its territory.
Since then, there have been difficult relations, and President Xi Jinping’s declaration that he would return Taipei to Chinese rule has only deepened the rift.
Less than 24 hours after the Taiwanese government announced another 35 Chinese aircraft had been sighted in its territory, the 68 warplanes were deployed.
A number of J-10 fighters entered the nation’s air defense identification zone, according to a report from Taipei’s military ministry on Thursday.
According to a statement by Major General Huang Wen-Chi, the Chinese Communist Party “has aggressively expanded its armaments this year and has continued to build various types of fighter jets and drones.”
Additionally, Taiwan stated that some of the aircraft had flown over the Bashi Channel to join the Chinese carrier Shandong for military exercises in the Pacific.
Later, Japan claimed that its Navy had seen the Shandong traveling with six other ships, including destroyers and frigates, around 400 miles south of the island of Miyakojima.
Following the One China stance, which acknowledges that the island belongs to mainland China, the US has historically maintained a neutral stance on Taiwan.
However, the Biden administration has softened its stance as a result of Joe Biden’s support for Taipei and Nancy Pelosi’s formal visit to the island last year.
Taiwan asserted that it will keep an eye on Chinese actions around the island and step up its defenses in response.
Beijing has increased military operations near Taiwan over the past year, dispatching ships and aircraft almost every day.
The United States and Canada sailed warships through the Taiwan Strait in a challenge to Beijing’s territorial claims, prompting the latest dispatch of Chinese airplanes and warships.
About 70 miles southeast of Taiwan on Monday, the PRC conducted its own naval exercise under the command of the aircraft carrier Shandong.
According to Chinese official media, the vessel was scheduled to perform drills simulating airplane, submarine, warship, and ground attacks.
In its most recent threat to the island about an impending invasion, Beijing also presented its plan for integrating Taiwan this week.
Officials highlighted the direction during a special press conference, emphasizing that Xi and the Communist Party leadership “attach great importance to the unique role of Fujian in the overall strategy on Taiwan.”
Beijing claims it wants Fujian to become the first stop for Taiwanese people moving to the PRC. Fujian is the Chinese province that faces the Strait of Taiwan.
The State Council’s Vice Director for Taiwan Affairs, Pan Xianzhang, declared: “We will… support the construction of (the demonstration zone) as a major initiative to deepen cross-strait integrated development and consolidate the foundation for peaceful reunification.”