Taiwan detects over 100 warplanes from China circling island
Taiwan's defense ministry calls the presence "recent high", of which some warplanes crossed the so-called median line of the Taiwan Strait separating it from China and entered its southwest and southeast air defense identification zone (ADIZ).
In a statement on Monday, Taiwan's defense ministry called on China to immediately stop what it described as "destructive unilateral actions" after the detection of over 100 Chinese warplanes and nine navy ships around the island.
The ministry described the number of warplanes detected during 24 hours as a "recent high".
"Between the morning of September 17th to 18th, the Ministry of National Defence had detected a total of 103 Chinese aircraft which was a recent high and has posed severe challenges to the security across the Taiwan Strait and in the region," it said.
It further added that China's "continued military harassment can easily lead to a sharp escalation in tension and worsen regional security."
40 of those warplanes crossed the so-called median line of the Taiwan Strait separating it from China and entered its southwest and southeast air defense identification zone (ADIZ), as confirmed by the statement.
The surge in presence comes after Chinese troops were set on "high alert" following the passage of two ships belonging to the United States and Canada through the Taiwan Strait.
Japan jumps on the train
68 Chinese aircraft and 10 naval vessels were detected around the island this past week between Wednesday and Thursday, according to the Taiwanese Defense Ministry, which stated that some of them were en route to an unspecified area of the Western Pacific to "conduct joint sea and air training" with China's Shandong aircraft carrier.
The Shandong, one of two operational aircraft carriers in the Chinese fleet, was seen last week around 60 nautical miles (110 kilometers) southeast of Taiwan heading into the Western Pacific, according to local authorities in Taiwan.
Meanwhile, Japan's defense ministry also stated its navy had detected six ships, including frigates, destroyers, one fast combat support ship, and the Shandong, sailing around 650 kilometers (400 miles) south of Miyakojima island, east of Taiwan.
China has not officially commented on any drills being conducted in the Western Pacific.
Taiwan's location plays a crucial role in international security and prosperity, as more than 50 percent of the world's shipping containers pass through the waterway that separates Taiwan from mainland China.
Meanwhile, the US, bolstering Taiwan's ability to go to war with China, unveiled in late July a $345 million military aid package for Taipei, which allegedly included intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment, and small arms munitions.