China sent the largest number of warplanes into Taiwan’s air defence as the country scrambled its fighter jets to thwart incursions, ahead of the island’s national day on October 10.
Monday’s incursion claimed 36 fighter jets, 12 H-6 nuclear-capable bombers including other planes crossed over into Taiwan’s airspace. Four jets entered at night bringing the total number of Chinese warplanes to 56, according to a map provided by the Taiwanese government.
The latest incursion marks the fourth straight day of incursions by Chinese aircraft, with almost 150 aircraft sent into Taiwan’s defence zone in total.
Beijing views Taiwan as a breakaway province. However, democratic Taiwan sees itself as a sovereign state. Taiwan has been reporting for more than a year that China’s air force has been repeatedly flying nearby.
Taiwan’s top China policy-making body, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), accused Beijing of “seriously damaging the status quo of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait”.
“We demand the Beijing authorities immediately stop its non-peaceful and irresponsible provocative actions,” MAC spokesman Chiu Chui-cheng said in a statement.
“China is the culprit for causing tensions between the two sides of the (Taiwan) Strait and it has further threatened regional security and order,” he added, saying Taiwan “will never compromise and yield” to threats.
Meanwhile, China accused the United States of being the provocateurs, while warning against supporting Taiwanese independence.
“Engaging in Taiwan independence is a dead end. China will take all steps needed and firmly smash any Taiwan independence plots,” the ministry said.
The US should stop supporting and “inflating” Taiwan separatist forces, it added.
Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen has repeatedly said that Taiwan is already an independent state, making any formal declaration unnecessary.
The island has its own constitution, military, and democratically elected leaders. China has not ruled out the possible use of force to achieve unification with Taiwan.