China flies 15 fighter jets into Taiwan airspace for second time in two days in chilling message to Biden

CHINA has sent 15 fighter jets into Taiwan airspace for the second time in two days, as tensions escalate just days into President Joe Biden's new administration.

China sent a dozen bombers and fighter jets into Taiwan on Saturday, followed by another 16 military aircraft on Sunday, according to Taiwan's Defense Ministry.

Taiwan responded by scrambling fighters, broadcasting warnings by radio and deploying air defense missile systems, the ministry said.

China is thought to have been sending a chilling message to Biden just days into his administration, after the de facto Taiwanese ambassador to the US attended his inauguration.

It has previously said the flights are aimed at defending China's sovereignty and designed to act as a warning against "collusion" between the US and Taiwan.

China views Taiwan as its territory and it has ramped up pressure on the island since Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen took office in 2016, who rejects the idea that the island is part of "one China".

On Monday, the China's Foreign Ministry said it will defend its national sovereignty and territorial integrity and the US should abide by the "one China" principle.

China has not commented on what its air force has been doing over the weekend.


But Biden's new administration said the US commitment to Taiwan is "rock-solid" and said it was concerned by China's "pattern of ongoing attempts to intimidate its neighbours".

"We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure against Taiwan and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan's democratically elected representatives," Ned Price, a spokesman for the department, said.

The State Department said Washington will continue to deepen ties with Taiwan and ensure its defense from China, while supporting a resolution of issues between the sides.

It comes after a US aircraft carrier group sailed into the disputed waterway.

The strategic South China Sea has long been a focus of contention between Beijing and Washington.

The US carrier group, led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt and accompanied by three warships, entered the waterway on Saturday to promote "freedom of the seas", the US military said.

The UShas accused China of bullying and trying to build a "maritime empire" in the area.

But China sees the US as an outsider interfering in a region in which it sees itself as a force for peace and stability.

The country has repeatedly complained about US Navy ships getting close to islands it occupies in the sea.

China's Foreign Ministry said the US often sends ships and aircraft into the waterway to "flex its muscles" – and said it is not "conducive to peace and stability in the region".

An estimated $3.4trillion worth of global trade passes through the sea each year, accounting for around one third of all global maritime trade.

In recent years, China has attracted international condemnation over its construction of military bases in the disputed waters.

In his first address to the country's armed forces of the new year, President Xi Jinping said the military must remain ready to "act at any second".

Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei, as well as Taiwan, have territorial claims in the waterway and largely welcome the US presence.

It comes as China's biggest-ever aircraft carrier could reportedly be launched this year and enter service as soon as 2024.

Satellite images published in Chinese media show a birds-eye view of the 1000-foot ship being constructed in a Shanghai dock.

The ship – named the Type 003 – will be China's third carrier and part of an attempt to modernise and expand its military under a five-year plan.

The tensions between China and Taiwan stems from China's long-standing aim to pressure the government of President Tsai Ing-wen into recognising Taiwan as a part of Chinese territory.

The island of 24 million people about 100 miles off China's southeast coast separated from China in 1949, when the Communist Party took power.

For three decades, the US recognized the Nationalist government in Taipei, Taiwan, as the government of China, though it had no actual control over the much larger mainland.

The US switched diplomatic recognition to Beijing in 1979, but now-democratic Taiwan still enjoys strong bipartisan support in Washington.

The US has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but is bound by law to provide the island with the means to defend itself.

Source: Read Full Article