The US on Monday urged Beijing to stop its multifaceted pressure campaign against Taiwan after China sent 25 military jets into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone.
“The United States notes with concern the pattern of ongoing PRC [People’s Republic of China] attempts to intimidate the region, including Taiwan,” a US Department of State spokesperson said in an e-mail response to questions. “We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic and economic pressure against Taiwan, and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan.”
The Ministry of National Defense said that 25 Chinese military aircraft entered the zone on Monday.
It was the 10th straight day that Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) planes entered the zone, while the number of aircraft was the highest in a single day since Sept. 17 last year, when the ministry began to publish such activity by Chinese aircraft on its Web site.
The previous high of 20 was on March 26, after Taipei and Washington signed an accord to bolster maritime cooperation.
The PLA aircraft in the sorties on Monday were 14 J-16 multi-role fighters, four J-10 multi-role fighters, four H-6K bombers, two Y-8 marine patrol planes and one KJ-500 airborne early warning and control plane, the ministry said.
All of the aircraft operated in airspace southwest of Taiwan, between Taiwan proper and the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Islands, 東沙群島), a chart on the ministry’s Web site showed.
Taipei responded by scrambling air force planes to monitor the Chinese aircraft, issuing radio warnings and mobilizing air defense assets until they left the area, the ministry said.
It was unclear why Beijing deployed so many military aircraft to the area on Monday, but it coincided with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s warning to Beijing on its “increasingly aggressive actions” against Taiwan.
Blinken on Sunday said in an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press that Washington has a longstanding bipartisan commitment to Taiwan under the US’ Taiwan Relations Act to ensure that Taiwan “has the ability to defend itself” and make sure the US is sustaining peace and security in the western Pacific.
“It would be a serious mistake for anyone to try to change that status quo by force,” he said.
After the interview, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taipei issued a statement expressing appreciation for Blinken’s support of Taiwan, and US recognition of the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.
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