Mon. Feb 19th, 2024

Taipei: In retaliation to increasing visits by foreign dignitaries to Taiwan, seventeen Chinese military aircraft and five ships crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait on Monday. Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) tracked 17 Chinese military aircraft and five ships around the country.

Of the 17 People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) planes, 10 Chinese aircraft, including four Sukhoi Su-30 fighter planes, three Shenyang J-11 jet fighters, two Shenyang J-16 jet fighters, and one Shaanxi Y-8 transport aircraft crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait, according to the MND. 

Taiwan sent combat air patrol aircraft and ships, while also deploying shore-based missile systems to monitor the Chinese aircraft and naval ships, reported Taiwan News. China`s military said it conducted combat alert patrols and military drills in the waters and airspace around Taiwan on Monday, a day after the arrival of a US congressional delegation to Taipei, reported CNN.

Beijing is concerned over the flurry of visits by top officials from the US and allied countries to Taiwan after trips by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in early August and a US Congressional delegation led by Democratic Senator Ed Markey on Sunday.

A fresh delegation of US lawmakers is visiting Taiwan, less than two weeks after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi`s visit to the self-ruled island angered China and set off large-scale military drills in the Taiwan Strait. A US congressional delegation led by Sen Ed Markey arrived in Taipei on Sunday for a previously unannounced two-day visit. 

China has already imposed sanctions against the visiting officials and held high-intensity military drills in Taiwan Strait, sparking fears of an armed conflict with Taiwan, which China claims as part of its mainland.

China`s ruling Chinese Communist Party views Taiwan as part of its territory, despite having never controlled it, and has long vowed to “reunify” the island with the Chinese mainland, by force if necessary.

Markey`s five-member delegation visited the self-governed island to “reaffirm the United States support for Taiwan” and to “encourage stability and peace across the Taiwan Strait,” a spokesperson for the senator said in a statement.

China’s Defense Ministry called the congressional delegation`s trip an “ambush visit” that “violates China`s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”The military drills by its Eastern Theater Command were a “solemn deterrent” of “collusion and provocation” by the US and Taiwan, said spokesperson Wu Qian in a statement on Monday.

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