Amid reports of heightened Chinese military action, including the passage of fighter planes over the delicate median line of the Taiwan Strait, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense issued a warning of a potential “sharp increase” in military tensions.
For the last three years, Taiwan, which is ruled democratically but which China claims as its own territory, has complained about rising military pressure from Beijing.
The ministry claims that beginning at 9am (01:00 GMT) on Tuesday, Beijing has been conducting a “joint combat patrol” near Taiwan, which involves 24 aircraft (including fighter planes, bombers, and drones) and five warships.
It was reported that Taipei was employing its own aircraft, warships, and land-based missile systems to keep an eye on the half of the warplanes that had crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait or entered the self-ruled island’s southwest air defense identification zone.
Before China’s air force started routinely crossing the median line a year ago, it had acted as an unofficial border between China and Taiwan.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement demanding that Beijing “immediately stop such unilateral acts,” citing the possibility of a “sharp increase in tensions” and “worsening regional security” as a result of the Communist military’s continuous harassment in the area.
It said that all parties, including Beijing, share responsibility for preserving the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, which is vital to the security and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region.
On the same day that the current Chinese team landed in Shanghai, Taiwan’s Kuomintang opposition party mayor, Chiang Wan-an, visited for annual city-to-city talks.