Chinese air force planes including 12 fighter jets entered Taiwan’s air defence identification zone for a second day on Sunday, Taiwan said, as tensions rise near the island just days into US President Joe Biden’s new administration.
China views democratically ruled Taiwan as its own territory, and has in the past few months increased military activity near the island.
“Airborne alert sorties had been tasked, radio warnings issued and air defence missile systems deployed to monitor the activity,” the ministry said.
China has yet to comment. It has previously said such actions are aimed at defending the country’s sovereignty and designed to act as a warning against “collusion” between the United States and Taiwan.
The US Department of State on Saturday said it “notes with concern the pattern of [China’s] ongoing attempts to intimidate its neighbours, including Taiwan”.
“We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure against Taiwan and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan’s democratically elected representatives,” spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.
Washington will continue to deepen ties with Taiwan and ensure its defence from Chinese threats while supporting a peaceful resolution of issues between the sides, the statement said.
“Our commitment to Taiwan is rock-solid and contributes to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and within the region,” it added.
The latest Chinese overflight came on the heels of President Joe Biden’s inauguration, emphasising the island’s enduring position in the panoply of divisive issues between the sides that also include human rights, trade disputes and, most recently, questions about China’s initial response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Biden’s administration has shown little sign of reducing pressure on China over such issues, although it is seen as favouring a return to more civil dialogue.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry expressed its thanks for the show of US support on Sunday, adding it would work closely with the Biden administration to strengthen their partnership.