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US ‘concerned’ by China’s incursion into Taiwan’s defence zone

The US has said it is “very concerned” by China’s “provocative” actions after Taiwan claimed some 93 Chinese military planes had flown into its air defence zone in the past three days.

The US state department called the actions “destabilizing” and reiterated its “rock solid” commitment to Taiwan.

Taiwan has reported at least five incursions since Friday.

China sees democratic Taiwan as a breakaway province, but Taiwan sees itself as a sovereign state.

It has been complaining for more than a year about repeated missions by China’s air force near the island.

“The United States is very concerned by… China’s provocative military activity near Taiwan, which is destabilizing, risks miscalculations and undermines regional peace and stability,” the US state department said.

“We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic and economic pressure and coercion against Taiwan.”

Taiwan’s defence ministry reported on Sunday that another 16 Chinese military planes had flown into its air defence zone, near the Pratas Islands atoll.

On Saturday, a total of 39 Chinese military jets flew into the same area in two waves during the day and evening. It was the largest incursion by Beijing to date.

On Friday, four H-6 bombers, which can carry nuclear weapons, and an anti-submarine aircraft were among the 38 that flew in two waves over the course of the day.

An air defence identification zone is an area outside of a country’s territory and national airspace – but where foreign aircraft are still identified, monitored, and controlled in the interest of national security.

It is self-declared and technically remains international airspace.

Taiwan’s Premier Su Tseng-chang told reporters on Saturday: “China has been wantonly engaged in military aggression, damaging regional peace”.

The government in Beijing – which has been marking 72 years since the founding of the People’s Republic of China – has so far made no public comment.

But it has previously said such flights were to protect its sovereignty and also target “collusion” between Taiwan and the US.

China and Taiwan: The basics

  • Why do China and Taiwan have poor relations? China and Taiwan were divided during a civil war in the 1940s, but Beijing insists the island will be reclaimed at some point, by force if necessary
  • How is Taiwan governed? The island has its own constitution, democratically elected leaders, and about 300,000 active troops in its armed forces
  • Who recognises Taiwan? Only a few countries recognise Taiwan. Most recognise the Chinese government in Beijing instead. The US has no official ties with Taiwan but does have a law which requires it to provide the island with the means to defend itself
  • bbc
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