Several Chinese warplanes and warships approached Taiwan early Saturday morning, prompting Taiwan’s Defense Ministry to jam fighter jets and prepare its missile defense system, officials said.
The Ministry of National Defense of the government of Taiwan, officially identified as the Republic of China, said its forces detected more than a dozen Chinese military-operated vehicles near its island around 6 a.m. Saturday.
“11 PLA aircraft and 3 PLAN ships around Taiwan were detected at 6 a.m. today,” its government said, prompting officials to send their own warships and land-ready missile systems “to respond to these activities”.
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is China’s official designation for military forces, including naval forces (PLAN) controlled by the Communist Party of China (CCP).
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The sighting comes as Taiwan previously reported detecting PLA forces approaching its territory on Thursday December 22 and then again on Wednesday December 21.
“[Nine] PLA aircraft and 3 PLAN ships around Taiwan were detected at 6am (UTC+8) today. The ROC armed forces have been monitoring the situation and have tasked CAP aircraft, navy ships and land-based missile systems to respond to these activities,” its government said.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense added, “2 of the detected aircraft (BZK-005 UAV RECCE and Y-8 ASW) had entered Taiwan’s southwest ADIZ, flight paths as shown.”
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Wednesday’s sighting was the largest, with Taiwan reporting seeing 39 Chinese aircraft and three warships around the island. The incident also prompted an immediate response from the Taiwanese military.
Among the aircraft detected, 30 crossed the center line of the Taiwan Strait and entered the identification zone of the southwest and southeast Taiwan air defense.
The Taipei Defense Ministry also provided flight paths for Chinese military vessels, including aircraft identification.
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Taiwan has not disclosed how many planes it has sent to respond to these encounters. He also vowed to defend against a possible military invasion by the Chinese mainland.
The Chinese mainland often positions its military towards Taiwan, which it recognizes as part of its own sovereign territory, but has become markedly more aggressive in recent months after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island. early August.
Taiwan has its own democratic governing body and strikes international trade deals with several countries that would otherwise choose not to trade with communist-controlled mainland China.
As the threat of China potentially launching a military invasion of Taiwan looms, the Biden administration has maintained “strategic ambiguity” on the island.
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As recently as September, President Biden publicly stated that the United States would interfere with such an invasion and order American troops to defend Taiwan. This is not the official position of the United States and the White House has corrected its remarks.
Biden also met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping and said in November that he “does not believe there is an imminent attempt by China to invade Taiwan.”
The US president also denied speculation that a new Cold War with China was developing.
“I absolutely believe there is no need for a new Cold War,” Biden said. “I have met with Xi Jinping several times and we have been frank and clear with each other. And I don’t think there is an imminent attempt by China to invade Taiwan.”
The United States does not have a defense treaty with Taiwan, but it provides the island with weapons through grants and loans.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed that the United States sent Taiwan $425 million in an arms package earlier this month.
“It was a set of upgrades on pre-existing sales,” she said on Dec. 9. “We continue to support Taiwan self-defense, in line with our long-standing one-China policy. So no change there.”
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The United States and most of the international community officially recognize the one-China policy, which denies statehood to Taiwan and asserts that Beijing has exclusive power to govern the island.
China’s current stance towards Taiwan comes against the backdrop of Russia’s invasion of eastern parts of Ukraine, which the Russian government has annexed and also claims as Russian territory.
Fox News’ Anders Hagstrom and Paul Best contributed to this report.