Beijing, Jan 9 (EFE).- A total of 57 Chinese planes and four navy ships were detected in areas around Taiwan, the island’s defense ministry announced Monday.
“28 of the detected aircraft had crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait and entered Taiwan’s ADIZ (air defense identification zone),” the ministry said on Twitter.
The incursions occurred between 6 am on Sunday and the same time on Monday.
The Chinese airplanes detected by Taiwan included J-11, SU-30, J-10 and J-16 fighters, H-6 bombers and KJ-500 early warning and control aircraft, which entered Taiwan’s southwest ADIZ, according to the ministry.
The island’s armed forces have “monitored the situation and tasked CAP (combat air patrol) aircraft, Navy vessels and land-based missile systems to respond to these activities,” the ministry added.
The median line, which runs down the middle of the Taiwan Strait separating Taiwan from the mainland, is an unofficial border tacitly respected by Taipei and Beijing in recent decades.
However, in recent months, it has been constantly crossed by Chinese forces during military drills.
On Dec. 26, Taipei reported the presence of 71 planes and five Chinese military ships in the vicinity of the island.
The incursions took place after the United States Congress approved a $858 billion defense spending bill that included military aid to Taiwan.
Last year, tension in the Taiwan Strait reached levels not seen in decades after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei in August, to which an incensed Beijing responded with military exercises around the island, among other things.
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen recently announced that the four-month mandatory military service for men will be extended to one year from 2024, noting that the island is on “the front lines of the expansion of authoritarianism.”
Taiwan has been considered a sovereign territory with its own government and political system under the name of the Republic of China since the end of the civil war between nationalists and communists in 1949, but Beijing maintains it is a rebel province and insists on reunification.
The island is also one of the biggest sources of conflict between China and the US mainly because Washington is Taiwan’s main arms supplier and would be its greatest military ally in the event of a possible war with China. EFE