Taiwan raises alarm as over 30 Chinese ships and planes detected in chilling escalation

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Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said it had detected 23 Chinese aircraft and eight Chinese ships operating around the island on Sunday, as Beijing continues its military activities. The Ministry said seven Chinese aircraft crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait, which normally acts as an unofficial barrier between the two sides.


Beijing has said it is “ready to defeat any provocation” as two US Navy warships sailed through international waters in the Taiwan Strait.

The two warships sailed through the waters today (August 28) in the first such operation since a visit to Taiwan by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi enraged China, which considers Taiwan its territory.

China saw Ms Pelosi’s move as an attempt to meddle in its affairs. It subsequently launched military drills near the island, which have continued since.

The US Navy said cruisers Chancellorsville and Antietam were carrying out an ongoing operation. Such movements usually take eight to 12 hours to complete and are closely monitored by China’s military.

The US Navy said in a statement: “These [US] ships transited through a corridor in the strait that is beyond the territorial sea of any coastal state.”

It added the operation demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific and the US military flies, sails and operates anywhere international law allows.

John Kirby, a spokesperson for the US National Security Council, echoed the Navy’s position on CNN, saying the ships’ passage was very consistent with the US one-China policy and of seeking a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Mr Kirby added the operation was planned long ago.

The Chinese military’s Eastern Theatre Command said it was following the ships and warning them.

It said in a statement: “Troops in the theatre remain on high alert and are ready to thwart any provocation at any time.”

Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said the ships were sailing in a southerly direction and its forces were observing, but “the situation was as normal”.

The narrow Taiwan Strait has been a frequent source of military tension since the defeated Republic of China Government fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war with the Communists, who established the People’s Republic of China.

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Ms Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan was followed about a week later by a group of five other US lawmakers, with China’s military responding by carrying out more exercises near the island.

Senator Marsha Blackburn, a US lawmaker on the Senate Commerce and Armed Services committees, arrived in Taiwan on Thursday on the third visit by a US dignitary this month, defying pressure from China to halt the trips.

US President Joe Biden’s administration has sought to keep tensions between Washington and Beijing from boiling over into conflict, emphasising congressional trips are routine.

The United States has no formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan but is bound by law to provide the island with the means to defend itself.

China has never ruled out using force to bring Taiwan under its control.

Taiwan says the People’s Republic of China has never ruled the island and so has no claim to it, and that only Taiwan’s 23 million people can decide their future.

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