China Sends Nearly 40 Jets to Fly Near Taiwan's Airspace for Second Day in Row
10:37 GMT 03.10.2021 (Updated: 12:42 GMT 19.06.2023)
© AP Photo / Jin Danhua/XinhuaIn this undated file photo released Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016, by China's Xinhua News Agency, two Chinese SU-30 fighter jets take off from an unspecified location to fly a patrol over the South China Sea
© AP Photo / Jin Danhua/Xinhua
China considers Taiwan an inalienable part of its territory and maintains that one day the self-governed island will be controlled by Beijing. Despite lacking recognition and official diplomatic ties, Taipei is still negotiating a purchase of weapons and fighter jets from the US amid protests from China.
The Chinese Air Force sent 39 fighter jets to fly through the area on the edge of the Taiwan air defence identification zone on 2 October after flying another 38 a day earlier, the island's Defence Ministry has stated.
There were two aerial sorties undertaken by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force on Saturday – one during the day and one at night, the same as on 1 October. The air defences spotted Chinese Su-30 fighter jets, J-16 strike fighters, Y-8 anti-submarine warfare aircraft, and KJ-500 early warning and control jets. Taiwan scrambled its jets and deployed anti-aircraft systems in response.
Taiwan's Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang condemned the flights as "brutal and barbarian actions" allegedly jeopardising regional peace.
The PLA Air Force flybys come in the wake of US Deputy Defence Secretary Kathleen Hicks dismissing concerns about a possible Chinese invasion of the self-governed island, that Beijing considers a part of its territory that should be reunited with the rest of the country. Hicks suggested that the US will insert itself into the conflict, if such an attack takes place.
"We have a significant amount of capability forward in the region to tamp down any such potential. We have good relations, of course, with Taiwan. We have commitments to Taiwan that are enduring since the 1970s".
Beijing and Washington have long been at odds over the latter's attempt to meddle in China-Taiwan affairs, by sending its warships to the strait separating the island from the mainland and considering the sale of weapons to Taipei. US President Joe Biden approved a $750 million weapons package purchase by Taiwan despite Beijing strongly objecting to such a transaction between Washington and Taipei, who do not even have proper diplomatic relations. The Chinese government warned the White House that its actions might destabilise the region and lead to a conflict.