China sent warships and a large group of fighter jets toward Taiwan, continuing its military pressure on the island, Taiwan’s defense ministry said Thursday.
Self-ruled Taiwan, which the Chinese communist regime claims as its territory, has repeatedly complained of Chinese military activity near it over the past three years, as Beijing intensifies pressure to try to force the island to accept its sovereignty.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has regularly sent flights toward Taiwan in reaction to the island’s political activities. In the past year, the CCP has also sent navy vessels as well as drones to circle the waters near the island.
Taiwan’s defense ministry said the Chinese military sent 33 warplanes and 6 navy vessels between 6 a.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday, including J-10 and J-16 fighters, as well as H-6 bombers.
The ministry said in an earlier statement Wednesday that it used land-based missile systems to track the aircraft, 10 of which had either crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait, which previously served as an unofficial barrier between the two sides, or entered the southwestern part of Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, or ADIZ.
Those aircraft were acting in coordination with five Chinese warships engaging in “combat readiness” patrols, it said.
Taiwan’s military dispatched ships and aircraft to keep watch, the ministry said.
The ADIZ is a broad area Taiwan monitors and patrols to give its forces more time to respond to threats, and Chinese aircraft have not entered territorial Taiwanese air space.
In response to escalating Chinese military pressure, Taiwan has been buying weapons and fighter jets to shore up its defenses. In July, the United States announced a $345 million package of sales to Taiwan that will include portable air defense systems, intelligence and surveillance capabilities, firearms, and missiles.
On Sunday, Taiwan reported a similar level of activity by Chinese warplanes and warships near the island.
The CCP staged war games around Taiwan in April after President Tsai Ing-wen returned home from a visit to the United States where she met U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).
Last August, it also held war games around Taiwan to protest against a trip to Taipei by then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Taiwan's Vice President William Lai leaves for the United States this week on his way to Paraguay on what is officially only a transit but which has angered the CCP.
It was the CCP's “priority” to stop Mr. Lai from visiting the United States, Beijing’s ambassador to the United States said last month.
Taiwan’s democratically elected government rejects the CCP's sovereignty claim and says only the island’s people can decide their future.