Nine Chinese aircraft yesterday crossed the Taiwan Strait’s median line as they carried out combat readiness patrols, the Ministry of National Defense said.
The incursions came days after Beijing threatened retaliation if President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) meets US House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
Tsai arrived in the US on Wednesday, stopping over on her way to Central America.
She is expected to meet McCarthy in Los Angeles on her way back to Taipei, and China on Wednesday threatened unspecified retaliation if that meeting were to go ahead.
The ministry said the nine Chinese aircraft crossed the median line, which used to serve as an unofficial buffer between the two sides, in the north, center and south.
The military monitored the situation using ships and aircraft, adhering to the principle of “not escalating conflicts or causing disputes,” the ministry said.
“The communist military’s deployment of forces deliberately created tension in the Taiwan Strait, not only undermining peace and stability, but [it] also has a negative impact on regional security and economic development,” it said in a statement.
The ministry condemned what it called “such irrational actions.”
There was no immediate response from China.
Tsai, on her first US stopover since 2019, told an event held by the Hudson Institute think tank in New York on Thursday that the blame for rising tensions lay with China, excerpts of her comments reported by her office showed.
“China deliberately raises tensions, but Taiwan always responds cautiously and calmly, so that the world can see that Taiwan is the responsible party in cross-strait relations,” she said.
A senior Tsai administration official familiar with security planning said the Chinese aircraft only “slightly” encroached across the median line, and that no unusual movements by Chinese ships had been registered.
China staged war games around Taiwan proper in August last year following a visit to Taipei by then-US House speaker Nancy Pelosi, and has continued its military activities near Taiwan since, although on a reduced scale.
The official said that China was unlikely to repeat such large exercises, as it is engaging in a “charm offensive” toward foreign political and business leaders, and an escalation of military tension would send “conflicting messages” to the world.
“Having said that, we have made all preparations in case China reacts irrationally,” the source said. “The more the international community pays attention to Taiwan, the more upset they get.”
Speaking to reporters in Taipei earlier yesterday, Premier Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) said Taiwan is a democratic country that has the right to go out into the world.
“I hope that China will not find pretext to provoke,” he said, when asked about Beijing’s retaliation threat. “China’s authoritarian expansion will in fact cause unnecessary trouble, so we here again make this call, hoping that China can reduce its provocative actions.”
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