Taiwan’s defense ministry urged China to stop its “military harassment” after it dispatched 103 warplanes toward the island within a 24-hour period.
Recent movement high: According to the ministry, the aircraft were detected between 6 a.m. on Sunday and 6 a.m. on Monday. The ministry said the move marked a “recent high” in China’s ongoing efforts to assert control over the island.
Breaching the median line: The report highlighted how 40 of the deployed warplanes breached the symbolic median line dividing mainland China and Taiwan. Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning later refuted the existence of a “median line,” further affirming Beijing’s stance that Taiwan is part of Chinese territory.
Threatening regional stability: Taiwan’s defense ministry also noted the presence of nine Chinese naval vessels in the vicinity, further heightening concerns of a potential conflict escalation. In its statement, Taiwan urged the Chinese government to assume responsibility and immediately halt these “destructive military activities” that threaten regional stability.
Political move: The actions are believed to be a part of China’s longstanding strategy of employing both incentives and intimidation to influence Taiwan’s political landscape. Taiwan’s presidential election, which is set in January, pits the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party against the opposition candidates who are keen on working with Beijing.
Troubled air and waters: The surge in military activity coincides with China’s recent deployment of an aircraft carrier, the Shandong, and other ships in the Taiwan Strait. The United States and Canada had previously conducted naval operations near Taiwan’s waters, underscoring the geopolitical significance of the region.