Taiwan Navy vessels are seen through a binocular as they are anchored in Keelung harbor in Keelung city, Taiwan, 10 April 2023. EFE/EPA/RITCHIE B. TONGO

Taiwan reports 59 incursions by Chinese planes in 24 hours

Beijing, Apr 10 (EFE).- A total of 59 aircraft and 11 military ships from China made incursions in the last 24 hours in areas around Taiwan as a part of maneuvers carried out by the Chinese army in the region, according to the official agency CNA.

Taiwan Navy vessels anchored in Keelung harbor in Keelung city, Taiwan, 10 April 2023. . EFE/EPA/RITCHIE B. TONGO

The movements were detected until 10am local time Monday (02.00 GMT Sunday).

The source, citing the Taiwanese defense ministry, added that 39 of the Chinese airplanes on Sunday crossed the middle line of the Formosa Strait, which serves as the unofficial border between Taipei and Beijing in recent decades.

Models such as SU-30, J-10 and J-11 fighters were a part of the sorties carried out in Taiwan’s self-defined Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), which is not defined or regulated by any international treaty and is not equal to its airspace.

The island’s air force monitored the situation with combat and naval air patrols and land-based missile systems, according to the Taiwanese Ministry of Defense.

In the last two years, Chinese military airplanes have made numerous incursions across the Taiwanese ADIZ, aggravating at a time when tensions between the two territories have worsened.

China announced Saturday that the exercises, which conclude Monday, come in response to a meeting in California last week between Tsai and the US House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

A Chinese military spokesperson called the maneuvers “a serious warning” against “provocation by separatist forces” and necessary action to protect China’s “sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Amid the recent escalations, the United States announced Monday that the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Milius was patrolling nearby around the South China Sea, over which Beijing is embroiled in sovereignty disputes with several countries in the region.

According to a statement of the Seventh Fleet of the US Navy, the USS Milius was patrolling near the Spratly Islands – where Chinese claims clash with those of the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei -, exercising its freedom of navigation under international law.

The statement underlined that illegitimate claims in the South China Sea posed a serious threat to freedom of navigation, in a veiled reference to Beijing.

In response, the Chinese army on Monday criticized the passage of the American destroyer for having allegedly violated its sovereignty.

According to a statement on the defense ministry website, PLA spokesperson Tian Junli claimed the USS Milius “illegally” entered the waters near the Spratly Islands without the approval of the Chinese government.

According to Tian, the PLA’s Southern Theater Command organized naval and air forces to follow and warn the US warship.

The spokesperson stressed China has “undisputed sovereignty” over the islands of the South China Sea and its adjacent waters, and claimed having taken all necessary measures to safeguard its “sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Beijing has considered Taiwan a rebel province since Kuomintang nationalists retreated there in 1949 after losing the civil war to the communist army. EFE