Taipei: Taiwan has tracked 21 warplanes and five naval ships from China around the country with eight jets that crossed the Taiwan Strait median line. Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defence said it had tracked 17 aircraft and five ships from China’s military around the country by 5 pm on Friday, reported Taiwan News.
Of the 17 People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) warplanes, eight crossed the median line over the Taiwan Strait, the military said. The planes were four Xi’an JH-7 fighter-bombers, two Sukhoi Su-30 fighters, and two Shenyang J-11 jets. The JH-7 and the Su-30 jets crossed the median line at its northern end, while the two J-11 fighters did so at the southern end.
The ministry said it tasked Combat Air Patrols (CAP), Navy ships, and air defence missile systems to monitor and respond to the Chinese activities reported Taiwan News. China has increased its antics in Taiwan Strait post the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the self-governed island.
Over the previous day, the military tracked 51 Chinese warplanes over the Taiwan Strait and a Chinese guided-missile destroyer near a zone where Taiwan was testing missiles. Tensions were further inflamed on Sunday when another US congressional delegation travelled to Taiwan and amid this a social media post by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) showed footage of the Penghu islands suggesting that its jets were on Taiwan’s doorstep.
Tung Pei-lun, the Taiwanese Air Force’s vice chief of staff for operations, denied that the recent Chinese drills in the Taiwan Strait came near Penghu saying Beijing uses “cognitive warfare.”
The PLA’s Eastern Theater Command (ETC), the unit responsible for the region that includes the Taiwan Strait, has held navy and air force drills around Taiwan as a show of force following Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei earlier this month.
Amid the heightened tensions in the Taiwan Strait, the United States is planning to take steps in the coming weeks and months to counter China’s military and economic activity around Taiwan.
Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan this month triggered a new round of tensions in the region. Ever since the visit of the US delegation, Beijing launched large-scale military exercises in the vicinity of the island, which included live-fire drills and military aircraft overflights close to Taiwan’s airspace.
Addressing a press briefing on Wednesday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the US will continue to take steps that are resolute but also calm to uphold peace and stability in the face of Beijing’s ongoing efforts to undermine the status quo. “These steps across a range of areas will unfold over the coming weeks and months because we recognize that this challenge is long-term,” Price said during a press briefing.