On Monday, Taiwan’s defense ministry informed that it had detected 103 Chinese warplanes around the island in a 24-hour period, describing the number as a "recent high".
“Between the morning of September 17th to 18th, the Ministry of National Defence had detected a total of 103 Chinese aircraft which was a recent high and has posed severe challenges to the security across the Taiwan Strait and in the region," the ministry said in a statement.
The planes were detected between 6 a.m. on Sunday and 6 a.m. on Monday, the ministry said. As is customary, they turned back before reaching Taiwan.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said that 40 of the planes crossed the symbolic halfway point between mainland China and the island. It also reported nine naval vessels in the previous 24 hours.
Taiwan’s defense ministry stressed that peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait are linked to the security, prosperity, and well-being of the Indo-Pacific region and are the common responsibility of all parties in the region.
“The ongoing military harassment by the Communist Party is likely to lead to a sharp escalation of tensions and worsening regional security, and calls on Beijing to shoulder its responsibilities and immediately cease such destructive unilateral actions," the statement added.
Last week, Taipei reported an increased number of incursions by Chinese warplanes and ships, after Beijing said its troops were on “high alert" amid tensions in the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan's defence ministry said 68 Chinese aircraft and 10 naval vessels were detected around the island between Wednesday morning and Thursday morning.
This latest episode comes as part of a series of increasing military manoeuvres by Beijing near Taiwan. China has consistently asserted its claim over Taiwan, which it considers a part of its territory, despite the island having its own government, military, and constitution.
China also unveiled a plan for an integrated development demonstration zone with Taiwan in China's nearby Fujian province, trying to entice Taiwan while also warning it of what experts say is China's long-running carrot-and-stick approach.
Taiwan and China were colonised by Japan in 1949 when the communists took control of China during a civil war. The losing Nationalists fled to Taiwan and set up their own government on the island.
The island is self-governing, though only a few foreign nations give it official diplomatic recognition. The U.S. among others has formal ties with China while maintaining a representative office in Taiwan.
Image source: Reuters