Taiwan Tensions

Updated ET, Sat ,

China sent warplanes into the Taiwan Strait over the weekend, a show of force to the Biden administration that signals Beijing’s plans to maintain pressure on Taiwan even as it calls for a reset with the United States.

Taiwan’s military said that four Chinese fighter jets, eight bombers and one anti-submarine aircraft entered its southwestern air defense identification zone and crossed the midline that divides the Taiwan Strait on Saturday. That was followed by 12 fighters, two anti-submarine aircraft and a reconnaissance plane on Sunday.

While such drills have been common and sometimes larger in recent years, the timing of this effort, just days after a new American administration took office, drew notice in both Taipei and Washington.

Taiwan’s military said it sent radio warnings to the Chinese planes, put defense missile systems on alert and dispatched patrol aircraft to monitor them.

China ratcheted up activity in Taiwan airspace on Sunday by flying 15 fighter jets between mainland Taiwan and the Pratas Islands in the South China Sea, a report said.

Reuters, which cited Taiwan’s Defense Ministry, reported that the jets included six J-10 fighters, two SU-30s and other military planes. A day earlier, China flew eight bombers and four fighters into the same airspace, the report said.

Chinese bombers and fighter jets have entered Taiwan’s air defence identification zone for the second day in a row in an unusual and provocative escalation of its military activities that has prompted the Joe Biden administration’s first public remarks on its relationship with Taipei.

Fifteen Chinese aircraft entered the Taiwanese defence zone on Sunday, Taiwan said, a day after 12 war planes including eight nuclear-capable H-6K bombers entered the airspace between mainland Taiwan and the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands in the South China Sea.

BEIJING (AP) — The U.S. has reaffirmed its support for Taiwan following China’s dispatch of warplanes near the island in an apparent attempt to intimidate its democratic government and test the resolve of the new American presidential administration.

The U.S. State Department on Saturday said it was concerned by China’s “pattern of ongoing attempts to intimidate its neighbors, including Taiwan.”

“We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure against Taiwan and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan’s democratically elected representatives,” Ned Price, a spokesman for the department, said in the statement.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said China on Saturday sent eight bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons and four fighter jets into its air defense identification zone just southwest of the island. The ministry said China on Sunday sent another 16 military aircraft of various types into the same area.

The ministry said Taiwan responded by scrambling fighters, broadcasting warnings by radio and “deploying air defense missile systems to monitor the activity.”

There was no immediate Chinese comment on Sunday.

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