The United States has condemned China for “provocative” and “destabilizing” military activity after Beijing sent nearly 100 fighter jets and bombers into Taiwan’s air defense zone over three consecutive days.
The US state department called the actions “destabilizing” and reiterated its “rock solid” commitment to Taiwan. Taiwan has reported at least five incursions since Friday. China sees democratic Taiwan as a breakaway province, but Taiwan sees itself as a sovereign state. It has been complaining for more than a year about repeated missions by China’s air force near the island.
“The United States is very concerned by the People’s Republic of China’s provocative military activity near Taiwan, which is destabilizing, risks miscalculations, and undermines regional peace and stability,” US state department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.
“We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure and coercion against Taiwan.”
Beijing marked its National Day on Friday with its biggest aerial show of force against Taiwan to date, buzzing the self-ruled democratic island with 38 warplanes, including nuclear-capable H-6 bombers.
That was followed by a new record incursion on Saturday by 39 planes, and at least 16 more on Sunday, said Taiwan, which accused Bejing of “bullying” and “damaging regional peace”.
“It’s evident that the world, the international community, rejects such behaviors by China more and more,” Taiwan’s premier, Su Tseng-chang, told reporters on Saturday.
Democratic Taiwan’s 23 million people live under the constant threat of invasion by China, which views the island as its territory and has vowed to one day seize it, by force if necessary.
Beijing has ramped up pressure on Taipei since the 2016 election of President Tsai Ing-wen, who has said she views the island as “already independent” and not part of a “one China.”
Under President Xi Jinping, Chinese warplanes are crossing into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on a near-daily basis.
Foreign minister, Joseph Wu, who has repeatedly said Taiwan would appreciate international intelligence and security assistance – but has not specifically requested military involvement – said the incursions were “threatening”.
Understanding China and Taiwan issue:
Why do China and Taiwan have poor relations?
China and Taiwan were divided during a civil war in the 1940s, but Beijing insists the island will be reclaimed at some point, by force if necessary
How is Taiwan governed?
The island has its own constitution, democratically elected leaders, and about 300,000 active troops in its armed forces
Who recognises Taiwan?
Only a few countries recognize Taiwan. Most recognize the Chinese government in Beijing instead. The US has no official ties with Taiwan but does have a law that requires it to provide the island with the means to defend itself.
French delegation heads to Taipei as China increases incursions into Taiwan airspace
A delegation from the French Senate, led by former Minister of Defence Alain Richard, is to leave for Taiwan on October 4. The week-long visit comes after Chinese fighter jets staged their largest-ever incursion into Taiwanese air space.
Senator Alain Richard is expected to lead the French Senate Group for Exchange and Studies with Taiwan from October 4 to 11.
China has repeatedly objected to the trip and the Chinese ambassador to France said that it would “needlessly disrupt” relations between their countries.
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Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said during a regular press conference on 30 September that Beijing was “firmly opposed” to any official exchanges or contact between individual French senators and the authorities in Taiwan, a democratically-ruled island that Beijing claims as its own.
The English language mouthpiece of China’s Communist Party Global Times called the trip a “silly move” at a time when France “has just been stabbed in the back by the US with its AUKUS deal which sabotaged the submarine contract between France and Australia.”