Taipei, Taiwan – In a growing crisis that threatens regional stability, Taiwan has called upon China to immediately cease its “military harassment” following the detection of 24 Chinese warplanes near the island. The intensification of military and political pressure on Taiwan by Beijing has raised concerns since President Tsai Ing-wen assumed office in 2016. Tsai rejects Beijing’s claim that Taiwan is part of Chinese territory, further fueling the tensions.
Taiwan’s Defence Ministry issued a stern statement, warning that the “People’s Liberation Army’s continuous military harassment in the region could lead to a sharp escalation of tensions and worsening of regional security.” The ministry implored Beijing to take responsibility for its actions and halt all unilateral actions undermining regional stability.
According to the Taiwanese Defence Ministry, Beijing deployed a total of 24 aircraft, including fighter jets, bombers, and drones, along with five warships, in what it described as a “joint combat patrol” near Taiwan, starting at 9 a.m. local time (0100 GMT). A concerning detail is that approximately half of these warplanes crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait or entered the self-ruled island’s southwest air defense identification zone (ADIZ). Taiwan responded by deploying its own aircraft, vessels, and land-based missile systems to monitor the situation.
The recent surge in Chinese air incursions coincides with President Tsai’s announcement of her visit to Eswatini, the only African nation that diplomatically recognizes Taiwan over China. In response, Taiwan’s defence ministry reported detecting 32 Chinese warplanes and nine warships around the island within a 24-hour period.
The situation has further escalated with the United States’ approval of advanced sensor equipment sales to Taiwan, and a Chinese BZK-005 drone’s flight circling the island, an action increasingly observed in recent times. Notably, Beijing conducted military exercises simulating the encirclement of Taiwan in April after Tsai’s meeting with U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California. The Chinese government also staged military drills following Vice President Lai Ching-te’s return to Taiwan after his trip to Paraguay, including two U.S. stopovers, and banned mango imports from the island.
China’s state-run Xinhua news agency has portrayed these military exercises as a “stern warning to the collusion of ‘Taiwan independence’ separatists with foreign elements and their provocations.”
The situation remains tense, with the international community closely monitoring developments and hoping for a peaceful resolution to avoid further escalation in the region.