Chinese aircraft and vessels move towards Taiwan days after US approves $500-million arms agreement.
In a statement, Taiwan’s defense ministry revealed that over the span of 24 hours between 6 a.m. Friday and 6 a.m. Saturday, a total of 32 aircraft from the People’s Liberation Army and nine naval vessels were detected.
Out of these, approximately 20 aircraft either crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait or encroached upon Taiwan’s air defense identification zone. In response, Taiwan promptly mobilized its aircraft, naval vessels, and missile systems to counter these activities, as confirmed by the defense military.
On wednesday, the US State Department announced its approval on for the sale of infrared search and track systems designed for F-16 fighter jets and accompanying equipment to Taiwan, with the total worth of the equipment amounting to $500 million.
China’s stance on Taiwan
China views self-governed Taiwan as a recalcitrant province that it could retake through force if necessary. In the past year, Beijing increased military drills near the island in response to Taiwan’s actions. The Chinese military recently conducted exercises near Taiwan, calling them a “stern warning” after Taiwan’s VP visited the US.
China’s Defense Ministry spokesperson, Zhang Xiaogang, opposed the arms sale as “gross interference” in China’s internal matters.. He labeled it a “heinous act” that goes against the “One China” principle and contravenes three Sino-U.S. joint communiques. Zhang further urged the United States to uphold its commitment of refraining from supporting Taiwan’s independence.
In response to the arms sale and the increased Chinese military activity around Taiwan, the U.S. expressed its commitment to assisting Taiwan in maintaining its self-defense capabilities. The U.S. reaffirmed its support for a peaceful resolution to cross-strait issues, encouraging dialogue and reducing tensions in the region.
International observers closely watch the Taiwan Strait, as any escalation of tensions could have significant regional and global implications. Global concerns persist over regional power dynamics, necessitating ongoing measures to prevent unintended conflicts.