Taipei [Taiwan]: Seventeen Chinese military aircraft and five ships crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait amid another US congressional delegation’s visit to the self-governed island.
Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defence (MND) tracked 17 Chinese military aircraft and five ships around the country as of 5 pm on Monday, reported Taiwan News.
Of the 17 People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) planes, 10 Chinese aircraft, including four Sukhoi Su-30 fighter planes, three Shenyang J-11 jet fighters, two Shenyang J-16 jet fighters, and one Shaanxi Y-8 transport aircraft crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait, according to the MND.
Taiwan sent combat air patrol aircraft and ships, while also deploying shore-based missile systems to monitor the Chinese aircraft and naval ships, reported Taiwan News.
China’s military said it conducted combat alert patrols and military drills in the waters and airspace around Taiwan on Monday, a day after the arrival of a US congressional delegation to Taipei, reported CNN.
A fresh delegation of US lawmakers is visiting Taiwan, less than two weeks after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the self-ruled island angered China and set off large-scale military drills in the Taiwan Strait.
A US congressional delegation led by Sen Ed Markey arrived in Taipei on Sunday for a previously unannounced two-day visit.
China’s military said last Wednesday that it had “successfully completed” those exercises, but pledged to “regularly conduct” more patrols in the direction of the Taiwan Strait, reported CNN.
China’s ruling Chinese Communist Party views Taiwan as part of its territory, despite having never controlled it, and has long vowed to “reunify” the island with the Chinese mainland, by force if necessary.
Markey’s five-member delegation visited the self-governed island in an effort to “reaffirm the United States’ support for Taiwan” and to “encourage stability and peace across the Taiwan Strait,” a spokesperson for the senator said in a statement.
In a statement Monday, China’s Defence Ministry called the congressional delegation’s trip an “ambush visit” that “violates China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The military drills by its Eastern Theatre Command were a “solemn deterrent” of “collusion and provocation” by the US and Taiwan, said spokesperson Wu Qian.
Beijing’s Foreign Ministry also decried the congressional visit in a regular news briefing Monday.
Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said China urges the US to “not cause further damage to Sino-US relations and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.” “China will take resolute and strong measures to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Wang said.