The Chinese military on Monday sent 52 military planes into Taiwan’s air defense zone — the most ever in a single day — one day after the U.S. issued a warning to Beijing over similar flights it conducted in recent days.
China has sent 145 flights into Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone in the past four days, including Monday’s incursion, which was first reported by Fox News.
“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,” the U.S. State Department said in a statement on Sunday evening. “We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure and coercion against Taiwan.”
The flights began on October 1 when 38 People’s Liberation Army aircraft flew close to southwest Taiwan before circling back as modern China celebrated the 72nd anniversary of its founding, CBS News reported. Chinese planes flew 39 more sorties the next day and another 16 flights the day after that — all following a similar path.
On Monday, the Chinese air force sent 52 aircraft, including three dozen fighter jets and a dozen bombers, according to Fox News.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has long said independence is not an option for Taiwan and has not ruled out the use of military force to reunify the island.
Taipei city spokesman and former ambassador Tom Chou told CBS News that Taiwan “is an advocate for peace in East Asia” and that the “record number of intrusions” into Taiwan’s airspace “is a serious threat to Taiwan and will destablize the status quo of peace in East Asia.”
“Taiwan plays an important role in global hi-tech supply chains, in particular semiconductor industry,” Chou added. “If the crisis is not handled properly, the world’s hi-tech supply chains will be adversely affected [and] that will further slow down the pace of the global economic recovery. This explains why the United States has come forward to tell China to stop its intrusions into Taiwan’s airspace.”
“The people of Taiwan are very grateful to the United States for extending a helping hand during this crisis,” he added.
Under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, the U.S. must support Taiwan’s defense capabilities against China.