A US government spokesperson again called on Beijing to cease military intimidation of Taiwan after the Chinese military on Tuesday sent 29 military aircraft into the southwestern part of Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, the third-highest single-day total this year.
“We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic and economic pressure, and intimidation against Taiwan,” a spokesperson of the US Department of State, who asked not to be named, told reporters in an e-mail response when asked to comment on the latest incursions.
“We have an abiding interest in peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. We will continue to assist Taiwan in maintaining a sufficient self-defense capability, and we will maintain our commitments as outlined in the Taiwan Relations Act, the Three Communiques and the six assurances,” the spokesperson said.
Photo courtesy of the Ministry of National Defense
“The US commitment to Taiwan is rock solid and contributes to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and within the region,” they said.
The Ministry of National Defense said the aircraft that flew into the zone included a communications aircraft, bombers, anti-submarine and refueling aircraft, as well as J-11, J-16 and SU-30 fighter jets.
Taiwan scrambled a combat air patrol, sent radio warnings and deployed defense missile systems to track the Chinese aircraft before they left the zone, the ministry said.
The ministry has been publishing information about such flights since Sept. 17, 2020, amid a rising number of intrusions into the zone.
The largest number of incursions in a single day was 56 on Oct. 4 last year, ministry data showed.
The highest number of incursions reported this year was 39 on Jan. 23, the data showed.
Chieh Chung (揭仲), a defense expert and associate research fellow at the Taipei-based National Policy Foundation think tank, said that one thing worth noticing about Tuesday’s incursions was that eight of the 29 Chinese aircraft had flown deep into the southeastern part of the identification zone before heading toward the Philippine Sea.
It was a rare move by Chinese warplanes to fly into the Philippine Sea, Chieh said, adding that he believed the aircraft were part of separate exercises conducted by a larger long-term strike group.
Meanwhile, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday wrote on Twitter that the latest large-scale exercises by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army were evidence that “authoritarian China’s military threat is more serious than ever.”
There is “no way Taiwan will cave in and surrender its sovereignty and democracy to the big bully,” Wu wrote.
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