China sends record 71 planes and seven warships towards Taiwan in show of force

FILE - In this undated file photo released by the Taiwan Ministry of Defense, a Chinese PLA J-16 fighter jet flies in an undisclosed location. China’s military sent 71 planes, including J16 fighter jets, and seven ships toward Taiwan in a 24-hour display of force directed at the island, Taiwan’s defense ministry said Monday, Dec. 26, 2022, after China expressed anger at Taiwan-related provisions in a U.S. annual defense spending bill passed on Saturday.(Taiwan Ministry of Defense via AP, File)
A Chinese PLA J-16 fighter jet (file picture) Credit: AP

China's military sent 71 planes and seven ships towards Taiwan in a 24-hour display of force directed at the island.

Taipei announced the display on Monday, after Beijing expressed anger over support for Taiwan included in a US annual defence spending bill passed on Saturday.

Out of the record 71 planes, 47 crossed the median line of the Taiwan strait - an unofficial boundary once tacitly accepted by both sides - marking the largest incursion on the self-governing democracy.

Beijing's attempts to intimidate Taiwan, which it claims as its own territory, has intensified in recent years, with the ramping up of both rhetoric and military exercises in the region.

The Chinese Community Party's anger grew following US speaker Nancy Pelosi's trip to Taiwan in August.

Washington and Beijing have also clashed over Taiwan's independence Credit: AP

Beijing views visits from foreign governments to the island as de facto recognition of the island as independent and a challenge to China’s claim of sovereignty.

Continued support for Taiwan shown by Washington has added to the People's Republic's fury, and last month outrage was also directed at the UK after a trade minister visited the island to discuss trade.

Taiwan said it monitored China's latest round of muscle flexing through its land-based missile systems, as well as on its own navy vessels.

“This is a firm response to the current US-Taiwan escalation and provocation,” said Shi Yi, the spokesman for the Chinese People's Liberation Army's Eastern Theatre Command, in a statement on Sunday night.

Shi was referring to the newly passed US defence spending bill, which describes China a strategic challenge.

With regard to the Indo-Pacific region, the legislation authorises increased security cooperation with Taiwan and requires expanded cooperation with India on emerging defence technologies, readiness and logistics.

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