Taiwan claims 33 Chinese warplanes flew over island in past day
The Taiwanese defense ministry says it has recorded 33 aircraft and 10 vessels in its vicinity over the past day.
The Taiwanese Defense Ministry reported Saturday that over the past 24 hours, Taipei it had discovered 33 PLA aircraft and 10 PLA vessels surrounding the island.
The Taiwanese ministry Tweeted that "[A total of] 33 PLA aircraft and 10 PLAN [People's Liberation Army Navy] vessels around Taiwan were detected by 6 a.m. (UTC+8) [22:00 GMT] today. R.O.C. Armed Forces have monitored the situation and tasked CAP aircraft, Navy vessels, and land-based missile systems to respond to these activities."
Twelve of the identified aircraft, including SU-30, J-10, and J-16 fighters, Y-8 transport planes, a WZ-7 drone, and a Z-9 helicopter, had entered the island's southwest and southeast air defense identification zones, it was noted.
Last week, China warned that any form of separatist moves in Taiwan would be "smashed".
The People's Liberation Army (PLA) "continues to strengthen military training and preparations and will resolutely smash any form of Taiwanese independence secession, along with attempts at outside interference, and will resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity," Chinese Defense Ministry Spokesperson Colonel Tan Kefei said in a press briefing.
His comments came in response to the US announcing a $500 million military package to Taiwan, something that China has repeatedly warned against. Earlier reports have also revealed that the United States has deployed some 200 military personnel on the island, claiming that they are missioned to provide military training to the Taiwanese army.
Washington and Taipei recently reached a preliminary agreement related to the US-Taiwan initiative on 21st Century Trade.
China has repeatedly expressed its firm will to fight against "Taiwan’s independence" and promote reunification of the island with the homeland.
In April, China conducted a three-day massive military drill around Taiwan dubbed "Sharp Sword", in a stern warning to the Taiwanese government following a meeting between the island's leader and the US House speaker Kevin McCarthy then.
Despite the fact that Washington cut diplomatic relations with Taipei in 1979, the US continues to send a small number of military trainers to Taiwan and militarize the island through arms sales.
US Indo-Pacific Command dispatched more than 200 troops to Taiwan to allegedly help the island's armed forces with training as Washington further breaches Beijing's "One China" policy and escalates tensions in the Asian giant's vicinity.