Taiwan has 33 Chinese military aircraft and seven warships circling the island in the space of 24 hours. The increase in military pressure comes after a visit by US congressmen to Taipei.
(DW) Beijing has sent 33 fighter planes and a group of six warships to Taiwan, the island’s Defense Ministry said on Saturday, adding that Taiwan has responded by sending its own forces.
The number of warplanes sent daily has reached a new high since Taiwan held its democratic presidential and legislative elections on January 13.
The increased military pressure from Beijing comes as two US congressmen ended a three-day visit to Taiwan on Friday. Ami Bera and Mario Diaz-Balart were the first official US delegation since the election of William Lai Ching-te as Taiwan’s new President.
13 of the 33 Chinese fighter jets crossed the unofficial median line in the Taiwan Strait that separates Taiwan from China, the Taiwanese ministry said.
In addition, the ministry reported that two Chinese balloons crossed the line and then disappeared while flying to the northern and southern parts of the island.
China and US hold talks
Rising tensions in the Taiwan Strait followed the announcement that senior US and Chinese officials would meet in the Thai capital, at a time when the two superpowers are trying to calm tensions.
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi are in Bangkok for talks, although it is unclear whether they have already met.
US National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said that the planned meeting in Bangkok continues the commitment made in November by US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping to “maintain strategic communication and responsibly manage the relationship”.