Military tensions around Taiwan increased on Monday as China sent a record 52 warplanes to the country’s identification area after the US and five of its allies held a major naval exercise east of Taiwan.
The invasion, announced by Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense Monday night, included 36 fighters and 12 nuclear bombers. This was the third time in four days that the People’s Liberation Army has launched a new set record for the flight to the air buffer zone of Taiwan, bringing the total number of such flights since Friday to 145.
Taiwanese officials said that although the Chinese military planes entering its air defense buffer zone on Monday were apparently conducting an exercise aimed at the US and its allies, the scope of the PLA’s activities near Taiwan reached a dangerous level. has. “This is close to the brink of conflict,” a senior official told the Financial Times.
According to a statement of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Forces released earlier Monday, the U.S., Japan, UK, Canada, Netherlands and New Zealand fleets conducted a major exercise with three aircraft carriers and 14 other warships on Saturday and Sunday southwest of Okinawa .
Two people who know the situation said the Chinese planes simulate attacks on some of the naval vessels that participated in the joint exercise and were on their way home or to new missions.
Taipei on Monday demanded that China immediately stop its “irresponsible provocation”. “Beijing’s refusal to renounce violence against Taiwan and its regular military harassment seriously violate the principle of peace in international relations,” the Taiwanese mainland council, the Chinese cabinet’s policy body, said in a statement.
The rising tension comes as the US and several of its allies and partners strengthen military cooperation in the Indo-Pacific in response to China’s increasingly aggressive use of its growing military capabilities.
Aukus, the new security treaty announced last month, under which the US and UK will equip Australia with nuclear-powered submarines, enables the Australian navy to work across the region to help deter China. Beijing has judge the agreement.
China claims Taiwan as its territory and threatens to invade it if Taipei refuses to submit to its control.
An air defense identification zone extends beyond a country’s sovereign airspace and is designed to give the military more time to identify and respond to an air strike.
The PLA has been sending military planes to Taiwan’s ADIZ for an average of 20 days a month since Taipei began publicizing the raids in September last year. Although there are many days when only one or two aircraft with early warning or submarine enter the area, activities usually increase and include fighters and bombers when Taiwan is engaged in foreign exchanges or when there is US military activity nearby.