The U.S. on Sunday called on China to halt its “provocative” pressure on Taiwan after a record number of daily incursions by Chinese warplanes, saying the military actions are destabilizing and risk leading to “miscalculations.”
“The U.S. commitment to Taiwan is rock solid and contributes to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and within the region,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement on Sunday.
The flybys close to Taiwan extended a display of military might as the country continued its celebrations of communist China’s founding. People’s Liberation Army aircraft conducted 16 flights near the territory on Sunday, after 39 on Saturday and 38 on Friday, Taiwan’s defense ministry said on Twitter.
The U.S. “is very concerned by the People’s Republic of China’s provocative military activity near Taiwan, which is destabilizing, risks miscalculations, and undermines regional peace and stability,” Price said. “We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure and coercion against Taiwan.”
The incursions came as the National Day holiday started on the mainland to celebrate the 72nd anniversary of the People’s Republic’s founding. Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Global Times, said Taiwan should probably expect further such incidents.
“These warplanes appearing at Taiwan Straits on China’s National Day is a new ceremony of Chinese people to celebrate the holiday,” he wrote on Twitter. “There could be more warplanes appearing there next year on the National Day, if Taiwan authorities continue their provocation.”
The shows of force come after Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office issued an angry denunciation of Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu on its official Weibo account. China derided his efforts to strengthen Taiwan’s international relations as “shrilling and moaning,” and “the buzzing of flies.”
The statement followed Wu’s assertion, in a Sept. 27 speech to the Hoover Institution in the U.S., that Taiwan is under constant threat from China, including gray zone tactics and information security attacks. China is attempting to lure Taiwan’s diplomatic allies and exclude it from important international organizations, Wu said.
Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council hit back at China’s criticism of Wu, calling it “unprecedented verbal abuse in the international community.”
China has increased its diplomatic, economic and military pressure on Taiwan over the past year. The Chinese air force made more than 500 incursions into Taiwan’s ADIZ in the first nine months of 2021, Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng told lawmakers, compared with more than 300 a year in the past.
Some 24 PLA aircraft flew into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone a week earlier, one day after Taiwan announced it had requested to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. In June, China’s air force sent 28 planes close to Taiwan in what was then the biggest sortie this year.
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