In its largest incursion to date, China sent 71 military aircraft into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone in the past 24 hours, Taipei said on Monday.

China claimed its “strike drill” and “combat patrols,” which included fighter jets and drones, on Sunday was in reaction to “provocations” and “collusion” between the United States and Taiwan.

“This is a firm response to the current U.S.-Taiwan escalation and provocation,” said Shi Yi, the spokesperson for the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) Eastern Theater Command, in a statement on Sunday.

43 aircraft cross the median line

According to a Taiwanese Defense Ministry report, 43 Chinese aircraft reportedly crossed the median line, an unofficial barrier between the two sides located within the defense zone in the Taiwan Strait.

The PLA also sent early warning, electronic-warfare, and antisubmarine aircraft into Taiwan’s southern air defense identification zone (ADIZ).

Taiwan deployed unspecified fighter aircraft to warn the Chinese jets off while its missile systems monitored their flight, the island government said.

More than 1,700 incursions this year

Chinese pressure on the self-ruled island has been rising steadily in recent years.

Under President Xi Jinping, Beijing has increased pressure on Taiwan through military, political, and economic means as ties have worsened.

More than 1,700 such incursions have occurred so far this year, compared to 969 in 2021 and 146 in 2020, according to the news agency AFP.

The Taiwanese administration says that it seeks peace but that it would defend itself if necessary.

US$10 billion in U.S. military aid to Taiwan

Washington has stepped up support for Taiwan, including a bill this month that authorized US$10 billion (€9.4 billion) in military aid.

Beijing has expressed “strong opposition”.

Tensions between Beijing and Taipei have been high since August when U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan. In retaliation for her visit, the PLA staged massive military exercises around the island.

ss/ar (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

This article was originally published on Deutsche Welle. Read the original article here.

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TNL Editor: Bryan Chou (@thenewslensintl)

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