Members of People's Liberation Army (PLA) adjust a wire on a beach in Pingtan, Fujian province, China, 10 April 2023. EFE-EPA FILE/STR

Taiwan reports record Chinese military activity around the island

Beijing, Sep 18 (EFE).- Taiwan reported Monday a record number of incursions by Chinese planes around the island.

A record 103 aircraft flew in the vicinity of the island over the last 24 hours, the Taiwanese defense ministry said in a statement.

Out of them, 40 crossed the Taiwan Strait’s median line, an unofficial boundary that both Taipei and Beijing had largely respected until last year, when Chinese planes began repeatedly crossing it.

Nine ships also sailed around the Taiwan Strait, the ministry said.

During last week, the Taiwanese ministry had reported incursions by around Chinese 200 planes and 50 warships amid escalated tensions coinciding with the recent passage of China’s aircraft carrier, Shandong, through waters east of Taiwan.

Local researcher Chieh Chung, recently told Taiwanese state-run agency CNA that the constant incursions by Chinese planes into the island’s air defense identification zone were aimed at pressuring and provoking Taiwan.

The most recent incursions were a response to the transit of a US destroyer and a Canadian frigate through the Taiwan Strait, the expert added.

In August, the Chinese army conducted sea and land military drills around Taiwan in response to Taiwanese Vice President William Lai’s stopover in the US during a trip to Paraguay.

China described Lai, who is Taiwan’s ruling party’s presidential candidate in next year’s elections, as a “troublemaker,” and said the stopover was an “attempt to solicit US support for ‘Taiwan independence.’”

The Shandong, which became China?s second aircraft carrier in 2019, took part in the military exercises that China conducted around Taiwan in spring in which it simulated a blockade of the island.

China claims sovereignty over Taiwan, a territory it considers a “rebel province” since Kuomintang nationalists withdrew there in 1949 after losing the war against the communist army. EFE