China sent 71 warplanes and seven ships toward Taiwan in less than 24 hours in its latest display of force, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said on Monday.
Between 6 a.m. Sunday and 6 a.m. Monday, at least 47 Chinese warplanes crossed the median of the Taiwan Straight, the unofficial boundary between both countries, said Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense.
The warplanes sent to Taiwan included 18 J-16 fighter jets, 6 Su-30 fighters, and drones. Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said it was monitoring the moves of the Chinese planes through its land-based missile system, as well as those on its navy ships.
“This is a firm response to the current U.S.-Taiwan escalation and provocation,” said Shi Yi, the spokesman for the PLA’s Eastern Theater Command, in a statement on Sunday night.
China’s latest move comes after the U.S. included Taiwan-related provisions in its annual defense spending bill, which calls China a strategic challenge. The bill authorizes increased sucurity cooperation between the U.S. and Taiwan.
“The United States has an abiding interest in peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. We will continue to assist Taiwan in maintaining a sufficient self-defense capability in line with our long-standing commitments and consistent with our one-China policy,” san an official at the White House National Security Council about China’s recent military activity near Taiwan.
China criticized the annual defense spending bill for calling its country a “threat” and expressing support towards Taiwan.
“China deplores and firmly opposes this U.S. move,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
So far this year, there have been more than 1,7000 incursions on China’s behalf, compared to 969 in 2020 and 146 in 2020.