China's military dispatched 103 warplanes toward Taiwan in a single day, setting a new record for the island. These actions come amid rising tensions between Taiwan and China, exacerbated by increased military drills and international involvement in the region, AP News reported.
China's Escalating Military Actions
Between 6 a.m. on Sunday and 6 a.m. on September 18, Taiwan's defense ministry detected and tracked 103 Chinese warplanes approaching the island, all of which retreated before reaching Taiwanese airspace. Of these aircraft, 40 crossed the symbolic midpoint between mainland China and Taiwan, demonstrating a heightened level of aggression.
Additionally, Taiwan's defense ministry reported the presence of nine Chinese naval vessels in the preceding 24-hour period. These developments indicate a significant increase in China's military activities near Taiwan.
Taiwan's Response and Concerns
Taiwan's Defense Ministry labeled China's actions as "harassment" and expressed concern that such provocations could escalate in the current tense atmosphere. In an official statement, Taiwan urged Beijing to bear responsibility and immediately cease these "destructive military activities."
The recent series of military maneuvers may be an attempt by China to influence Taiwan's presidential election scheduled for January. The ruling Democratic Progressive Party, advocating formal independence for Taiwan, is at odds with the Chinese government, which prefers opposition candidates that promote cooperation with the mainland.
Background and Historical Context
Taiwan and China have been separated since 1949 when the Chinese communists emerged victorious in a civil war, leading to the retreat of the Nationalist government to Taiwan. Taiwan operates as a self-governing entity but is not widely recognized diplomatically. While the United States and others maintain official ties with China, they also maintain representative offices in Taiwan.
The recent escalation comes on the heels of U.S. and Canadian warships sailing through the Taiwan Strait, which separates Taiwan from mainland China. This move by the Western nations added to the already heightened tensions in the region.
China's recent actions are seen as a part of its ongoing strategy that combines both incentives and warnings towards Taiwan. China unveiled a plan for an integrated development demonstration zone with Taiwan in its nearby Fujian province, which some experts interpret as a carrot-and-stick approach to Taiwan.
Earlier Daryo reported that the administration led by Chinese President Xi Jinping has introduced an elaborate strategy with the objective of turning Fujian, a southeastern province of China, into a model area for fostering integrated development with Taiwan.