Chinese military aircraft and vessels were detected near Taiwan, defense officials said Wednesday, the latest incursion amid heightened tensions between both nations.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense tweeted that 16 Chinese Liberation Army planes and three navy vessels were spotted round 6 a.m. local time. In response, Taiwan said it was monitoring the situation.
“Armed Forces have monitored the situation and tasked CAP aircraft, Navy vessels, and land-based missile systems to respond these activities,” the defense ministry tweeted.
In a subsequent tweet, it said four Chinese military aircraft “had crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait and entered Taiwan’s southwest ADIZ,” (Air Defense Identification Zone).
The incursions by Chinese forces have become an almost daily occurrence. On Monday, Chinese military planes and several vessels were detected near Taiwan in what was the seventh such incident in the past week.
Last week, Beijing renewed threats against the island nation and warned that foreign politicians who interact with the self-governing island are “playing with fire.”
A spokesperson for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said the country was recommitted in the new year to “safeguarding sovereignty and territorial integrity” and “smashing plots for Taiwan independence” on the self-governing democracy that separated from mainland China in 1949.
“The malicious support for Taiwan independence among anti-China elements in a few foreign countries are a deliberate provocation,” Ma Xiaoguang said at a biweekly news conference.
Taiwan also staged military drills last week to reassure the public of its ability to counter China’s threats ahead of this month’s Lunar New Year holiday.
“The most important thing is to maintain the safety of our airspace and national security,” air force Lt. Col. Wu Bong-yeng told reporters at Hsinchu Air Base just south of the capital, Taipei.