On a single day last week, 19 Chinese air force planes including 12 J-16 fighter jets crossed into Taiwan’s side of the so-called ‘median line’ which divides the Taiwan Strait – a body of water between Taiwan and China. More recently, China’s air force sent two Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft into the southwest region of Taiwan’s air defence identification zone yesterday, prompting the latter to scramble fighter jets in response.
Now, Joseph Wu, Taiwanese foreign minister, has warned China to “back off” following the incidents.
In a tweet, he said: “I call on the international community to condemn the CCP for its dangerous and provocative words and deeds threatening peace and the status quo.”
China has said it does not recognise the median line – a matter on which both sides disagree.
The Chinese government also considers Taiwan – an island nation around 100 miles off the east coast of the Chinese mainland – to be a part of China’s territory.
However, Taiwan is self-ruled and insists it is an independent nation.
Beijing’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said in a daily press briefing on Monday: “The Taiwan region is an inalienable part of China’s territory. The so-called “median line” is non-existent.”
Regarding China’s stance on the median line, Taiwan’s Joseph Wu told reporters, according to the Guardian: “The median line has been a symbol of preventing military conflicts and maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait for many years.
Beijing also fears increased ties the two countries further enables Taiwan to be independent.
In August, the US sent Alex Azar, the country’s health secretary, to Taiwan to discuss coronavirus and other matters.
Of the visit, China’s Foreign Affairs spokesman Zhao Lijian warned China was “firmly opposed” to meetings between the two countries.
He added: “On issues involving China’s core interests, some people in the United States must not have any illusions and wishful thinking. Those who play with fire will get burnt.”
More recently, US Undersecretary of State Keith Krach visited Taiwan last week.
Asked to comment on the visit, Chinese official Wang Wenbin said: “It is a political provocation that emboldens ‘Taiwan independence’ separatists and undermines China-US relations as well as peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.
“China firmly opposes and strongly condemns it. We will take countermeasures, including against relevant individuals.
“The US acts will have further negative consequences on China-US coordination and cooperation on major regional and international issues, for which it bears full responsibility.”
CNN International has said the numerous recent incidents of Chinese warplanes crossing the median line between China and Taiwan is ‘without modern precedent’.