The Taiwan Air Force on Saturday scrambled for jets for the second day in a row as multiple Chinese planes landed on the island and crossed the delicate midline of the Taiwan Strait, urging the island government to “pull Beijing off the edge”.
The Taiwan Ministry of Defense said 19 Chinese planes were involved, one earlier than the previous day, some crossing the Taiwan Strait Midline, while others were flying into the air defense recognition zone off Taiwan’s southwest coast.
China, which claims democratic Taiwan as its territory, has sent 12 J-16 fighter jets, two J-10 fighters, two J-11 fighter jets, two H-6 bombers and one Y-8 anti-submarine. According to a map provided by the ministry, no one was close to or on the mainland of Taiwan.
“The ROCAF has deployed an air defense missile system to scramble fighters and monitor operations,” the ministry said in a tweet, referring to the Air Force of the Republic of China, the official name of Taiwan’s air force.
Taiwan has complained of incidents of Chinese aircraft near the island this year and has had to scramble its F-16 and other jets regularly to intercept them.
China announced at a news conference in Beijing on Friday about combat drills for China’s UN peacekeeping efforts near the Taiwan Strait and condemned the compression between the island and the United States.
U.S. Undersecretary of State for Economic Affairs Keith Crouch arrived in Taipei on Thursday for a three-day visit, the most senior State Department official to visit Taiwan in four decades in anger over China. He left on Saturday afternoon, according to the Taiwan Foreign Ministry.
‘Pull back from the edge’
The Taiwanese Ministry of Defense said in a special statement that China was carrying out provocative actions that would seriously damage peace and stability.
“The Ministry of Defense strongly condemns this and calls on the mainland authorities to control themselves and pull back from the edge.”
The ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily Global Times China’s widely read tabloid Saturday editorial said Friday’s drills were a rehearsal to seize Taiwan.
“The situation in the US and Taiwan should not be misjudged, or the exercise is believed to be unrealistic. If they continue to provoke, war will inevitably erupt,” it said.
Johnny Chiang, leader of Taiwan’s main opposition party Kuomintang, wrote on his Facebook page that the two sides needed to resume talks to reduce the risk of war.
“People who are ready to play the role of communication are stigmatized and people who complain about war are considered heroes. Such an environment is definitely not conducive to the peaceful and sustainable development of the Taiwan Strait,” Chiang said. Relations with China.
Life in Taiwan continued to be normal without panic. The island has long been accustomed to living with Chinese threats.
The Taiwanese people were not interested in being ruled by an authoritarian China, which last year re-elected President Tsai Ing-wen on a massive stand-off for Beijing.
The latest Chinese flights arrived on the same day that Taiwan hosted a memorial service for former President Lee Teng-hui, known as “Mr. Democracy” for ending the dictatorship in favor of free elections and gaining Taiwan’s special recognition from China.
Lee, who died in July, became Taiwan’s first democratically elected president in March 1996, after eight months of intimidating war games and missile tests by China in the waters around the island.
Those events brought China and Taiwan to the brink of conflict, prompting the United States to send an air carrier task force to the region as a warning to the Beijing government.