China Flies Dozens Of Fighter Jets Near Taiwan In Response To Tsai Ing-wen's U.S. Visit

Zinger Key Points
  • China announced it had started combat readiness patrols and "Joint Sword" exercises around Taiwan. 
  • Taiwan's Defense Ministry said it spotted 71 Chinese aircraft, including fighter jets and bombers.

Seventy-one Chinese military aircraft crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait on Saturday in response to a meeting between the House speaker and the president of Taiwan, according to Reuters.

The response follows just days after China strongly condemned Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen's meeting with U.S. Speaker Kevin McCarthy in Los Angeles on Wednesday. The country has often made clear its displeasure about Taiwan's contact with foreign governments.

China's People's Liberation Army also announced that it had started combat readiness patrols and "Joint Sword" exercises around Taiwan. 

The Chinese military said it would hold them in the Taiwan Strait and to the north, south, and east of Taiwan "as planned."

"This is a serious warning to the Taiwan independence separatist forces and external forces' collusion and provocation, and it is a necessary action to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity," the Chinese Army's Eastern Theatre Command said in a statement, per Reuters.

Also Read: US Lawmakers Visit Taiwan Days After Pelosi Trip, Risking Increased Tensions With China

Taiwan's Defense Ministry said it spotted 71 Chinese aircraft, including fighter jets and bombers, crossing the median line, as well as nine Chinese ships.

"The military will respond with a calm, rational and serious attitude, and will stand guard and monitor following the principles of 'not escalating nor disputes' to defend national sovereignty and national security," the ministry said. 

Taiwan separated from China after a civil war in 1949, but the latter's ruling Communist Party insists that the former is part of the mainland.

Last year, the U.S. government announced a $1 billion sale of military equipment to Taiwan, including 60 anti-ship missiles and 100 air-to-air missiles. The sale also included a $655 million logistics support package for Taiwan's surveillance radar program, which provides air defense warnings. According to the State Department, the U.S. aims to strengthen Taiwan's military condition and help the country "maintain a sufficient self-defense capability." 

In response to the arms deal, Chinese embassy spokesperson Liu Pengyu said the sale "severely jeopardizes China-U.S. relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait."

Read Next: Kevin McCarthy Slams Xi Jinping After Meeting Taiwan President, Says China Can't 'Tell Me…Who I Can Speak To'

Photo: Shutterstock

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