Taiwan sharply criticized China on Saturday after Beijing marked the establishment of the People’s Republic of China with the largest-ever raid by the Chinese air force into the island’s air defense zone.
Taiwan, a democratically administered island claimed by China, has been complaining for more than a year of repeated nearby missions by the Chinese air force, often in the southwestern part of its air defense zone close to the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands.
Taiwanese fighters scrambled in two waves against 38 Chinese planes on Friday, Taiwan’s defense ministry said. It said Taiwan sent warplanes to warn the Chinese planes, while missile systems were deployed to track them.
“China is deliberately involved in military aggression, damaging regional peace,” Taiwanese Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang told reporters on Saturday morning.
The first wave of raids involved 18 J-16 and four Su-30 fighter jets plus two nuclear-capable H-6 bombers and an anti-submarine aircraft, while the second had 10 J-16s, 2 H-6s and an early warning. aircraft, the ministry said.
The first batch of Chinese planes all flew in an area close to the Pratas Islands, with the two bombers flying closest to the atoll, according to a map released by the ministry.
The second group flew to the Bashi Channel that separates Taiwan from the Philippines, a major waterway connecting the Pacific Ocean to the disputed South China Sea.
On Saturday, the ministry reported another raid, this time involving 20 aircraft, all fighters except two anti-submarine aircraft. They also flew near the Pratas.
Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu added his condemnation, tweeting on Saturday that the record flights made Friday “not a good day”.
“To threaten? Of course,” he added.
China has not yet responded.
It has previously said such flights were to protect the country’s sovereignty and targeted “collusion” between Taiwan and the US, the island’s main international lender.
The previous largest raid took place in June, involving 28 Chinese Air Force planes.
China’s latest mission came less than a day after the government launched a verbal attack on Wu, evoking the words of revolutionary leader Mao Zedong to denounce him as a “snarling” fly for his efforts to promote Taiwan internationally. .
China has stepped up military and political pressure to force Taiwan to accept Chinese sovereignty.
Taiwan says it is an independent country and will defend its freedom and democracy.