In a 24-hour span, nine Chinese fighter aircraft and one military drone passed the Taiwan Strait middle line.
Ten Chinese planes flew over the Taiwan Strait’s middle line, which serves as an informal border between the two nations, according to Taiwan’s defense ministry, as Beijing keeps up its military exercises close to the island.
According to the ministry’s daily update on Chinese military activity, nine Chinese fighter aircraft and one military drone passed the middle line in the 24 hours leading up to 6am local time on Saturday (20:00:00 GMT on Friday).
The ministry responded in the usual manner, saying Taiwan sent battle aircraft to ward off the Chinese aircraft while missile systems watched them.
In recent years, Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, has grumbled about nearly daily flights by the Chinese air force near the democratically-run island, frequently in the southwest corner of its air defense identification zone.
In a move that Taiwan’s defense minister described as “deliberately creating tension,” nine Chinese planes passed the middle line on Friday while conducting combat preparedness missions.
President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, who is currently traveling in Central America, has been warned with vague reprisal by Beijing if she encounters Speaker of the US House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy while passing through the US on her way to Latin America.
After Honduras became the newest nation to sever formal links with Taipei in favor of Beijing, Tsai traveled to Guatemala on Friday to strengthen ties with diminishing friends. She will also travel to nearby Belize.
Tsai is anticipated to encounter McCarthy in Los Angeles on her journey back to Taipei from Central America later this month.
Beijing had cautioned the US was “playing with fire” over Tsai being welcomed by US officials, whereas Washington had claimed there was no cause for China to “overreact” to the “normal, uneventful” journey.
After Nancy Pelosi, the then-Speaker of the House, toured Taipei in August, China held war drills around Taiwan. Since then, though on a smaller scale, China has maintained military exercises close to Taiwan.
This week, a top Taiwan official acquainted with the island’s security planning told Reuters that while it was doubtful that China would conduct similar large-scale drills, all necessary arrangements had been made just in case.