China’s show of force on its national day on 1 October near the self-ruled democratic island, which Beijing claims as part of its territory, happened in the same week that it accused the UK of sending a warship into the Taiwan strait with “evil intentions”.
The Taiwan defence ministry reported on the occasion that its fighters had scrambled against 18 J-16 and four Su-30 fighter jets plus two nuclear-capable H-6 bombers and an anti-submarine aircraft of China.
Then in the early hours today, the Taiwanese ministry said a further 13 Chinese aircraft had been involved in a mission last night involving 10 J-16s, 2 H-6s and an early warning aircraft.
The ministry said Taiwan had sent combat aircraft to warn away the Chinese aircraft and also deployed missile systems to monitor them.
The first batch of aircraft from China flew in an area close to the Pratas Islands, with the two bombers flying closest to the atoll, according to a map issued by the ministry.
The second group flew down into the Bashi Channel that separates Taiwan from the Philippines, a key waterway that links the Pacific with the disputed South China Sea.
China has yet to comment on its latest show of strength. Previously, it had said such flights were to protect the country’s sovereignty and aimed at “collusion” between Taiwan and the US, the island’s most important international supporter.
The previous largest incursion happened in June, involving 28 Chinese air force aircraft.
The latest mission of China happened less than 24 h after its government’s attack on Taiwan’s foreign minister, evoking the words of CCP’s violent founder Mao Zedong to denounce him as a “shrilling” fly for his efforts to promote Taiwan internationally.
China has stepped up military and political pressure to try and force Taiwan to accept Chinese sovereignty.
Taiwan says it is an independent country and will defend its freedom and democracy.
The incursion yesterday followed Britain‘s act of sending a warship through the Taiwan Strait on 27 September for the first time since 2008 — a move that challenges Beijing’s claim to the sensitive waterway. It marked a rare passage through the maritime area by a non-US military vessel.
China’s defence forces accused the UK of acting out of “evil intentions to sabotage peace and stability in the Taiwan strait”.