The United States condemned China’s largest-ever incursion into Taiwan’s air defense zone, which it described as “provocative” and “destabilizing” military activity, as the two super-powers head toward a possible military clash.
The State Department said on Sunday that the U.S. is “very concerned” about People’s Republic of China’s “provocative military activity near Taiwan” following Beijing’s most recent show of air power near the self-governing island.
“The United States is very concerned by the People’s Republic of China’s provocative military activity near Taiwan, which is destabilizing, risks miscalculations, and undermines regional peace and stability. We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure and coercion against Taiwan,” said State Department spokesperson Ned Price.
On Friday, China flew 38 military aircraft into Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone, believed to be Beijing’s largest military provocation seen yet.
China’s latest incursion came less than a day after its government launched an attack on Taiwan’s foreign minister
On Saturday, the communists sent 30 warplanes toward Taiwan.
Since the beginning of the year, China has continuously flown military aircrafts into Taiwanese airspace as part of its ramped-up efforts to strengthen its territorial claim over the island.
“China has been wantonly engaged in military aggression, damaging regional peace,” said Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang on Saturday morning following the reported incursions.
“We have an abiding interest in peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. We will continue to assist Taiwan in maintaining a sufficient self-defense capability, and we will maintain our commitments as outlined in the Three Communiqués, the Taiwan Relations Act, and the Six Assurances,” said Price.
“The U.S. commitment to Taiwan is rock solid and contributes to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and within the region,” he added. “We will continue to stand with friends and allies to advance our shared prosperity, security, and values and deepen our ties with democratic Taiwan.”
In the summer, the Group of Seven (G-7) countries called for the “status quo” in the region to be preserved.
“We remain seriously concerned about the situation in the East and South China Seas and strongly oppose any unilateral attempts to change the status quo and increase tensions,” the G-7 said in a joint statement.
Taiwan, which is claimed by China, has complained for a year or more of repeated missions by China’s air force near the democratically governed island, often in the southwestern part of its air defence zone close to the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands.
The Taiwan Defense Ministry first reported on Friday that Taiwanese fighters had scrambled against 25 Chinese fighter jets – 18 J-16s, four Su-30s, two nuclear-capable H-6 bombers and an anti-submarine aircraft.
Then, the ministry said, in the early hours of Saturday a further 13 Chinese aircraft were involved in a mission – 10 J-16s, 2 H-6s and an early warning aircraft.
China has yet to comment on its military adventures.
The communist regime has previously said it launched flights to protect the country’s sovereignty against “collusion” between Taiwan and the United States, the island’s most important international backer.
The previous largest incursion happened in June, involving 28 Chinese air force aircraft.
China’s latest mission came less than a day after its government launched an attack on Taiwan’s foreign minister Joseph Wu, evoking the words of revolutionary leader Mao Zedong to denounce him as a “shrilling fly” for his efforts to promote Taiwan independence on the international stage.
“All forms of comments on Taiwan independence are but flies ‘humming, with a burst of shrilling and a fit of sobbing,’” the Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office said.
China has stepped up military and political pressure to try and force Taiwan to accept Chinese sovereignty.
Taiwan says it is an independent country and will defend its freedom and democracy.