Taiwan on Monday condemned China for its second military drill in less than a month around the island, and its defense ministry said it had detected 57 Chinese aircraft.
China claims democratically-ruled Taiwan as its territory and is mounting military, political and economic pressure to advance those claims.
The People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command said its forces conducted “joint combat training patrols and actual combat training” aimed at land strikes and naval attacks in the sea and airspace around Taiwan.
The goal was to test joint combat capabilities and “resolutely oppose the provocative actions of foreign powers and Taiwan independence separatist forces.”
Taiwan’s presidential office said China was making “baseless accusations” and strongly condemned the drills, saying the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait and the region were the shared responsibility of Taiwan and China.
Taiwan’s position is very clear, as it will not escalate conflicts or provoke disputes, but will firmly protect its sovereignty and security, the office said in a statement.
“The country’s military closely understands the situation in and around the Taiwan Strait and will respond calmly. Our people can be calm,” he added.
On Monday, Taiwan’s defense ministry said it had detected 57 Chinese aircraft and four naval vessels operating around the island in the past 24 hours, including 28 that flew into Taiwan’s air defense zone.
Some of them crossed the middle line of the Taiwan Strait, an unofficial buffer between the two sides, including Su-30 and J-16 fighter jets, two nuclear-powered H-6 bombers They flew to the south of Taiwan. showed the map.
In a similar Chinese exercise late last month, Taiwan said 43 Chinese aircraft crossed the median line.
China, which has never shied away from using force to take control of the island, has made regular military incursions into the waters and airspace near Taiwan over the past three years.
Last August, the US Congress held war games around Taiwan after then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei.
Taiwan strongly rejects Beijing’s sovereignty claims, saying only the island’s 23 million people can decide their own future.
In particular, US support for Taiwan, including arms sales, has angered Beijing.
Like many countries, the United States does not have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but it is the island’s most important arms supplier and international supporter.