Days after the United States approved a USD 500-million arms sale to Taiwan, the latter’s Defence Ministry on Saturday said that China sent dozens of aircraft and vessels towards the island.
People’s Liberation Army’s 32 aircraft and the Navy’s 9 vessels were detected in the 24 hours between 6 am Friday and 6 am Saturday, Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said in a statement.
As many as 20 aircraft out of the 32 either crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait or breached the island country’s air defense identification zone.
Taiwan responded to the Chinese action by activating its aircraft, vessels, and missile systems, the ministry said.
China sees self-ruled Taiwan as a renegade province to be taken by force if necessary.
Beijing has stepped up its military drills around Taiwan in the past year, which came in reaction to Taiwan’s political activities.
Last week, the Chinese military conducted drills around the island nation as a ‘warning’ after Taiwan’s vice president stopped over in the US while on an official trip to Paraguay.
The State Department said on Wednesday it had signed off on the sale of infrared search and track systems for F-16 fighter jets and other related equipment to Taiwan worth half a billion dollars.
Chinese Defense Ministry spokesperson Zhang Xiaogang on Friday said that China opposed the arms sale, and called it a “gross interference” in its internal affairs.
Zhang also said that China urged the US to fulfil its commitment of not supporting the independence of Taiwan.
China's defence ministry on Friday urged the US to stop "arming" Taiwan.
"China urges the US side to effectively fulfil its commitment not to support the independence of Taiwan, to immediately stop arming Taiwan, and to stop enhancing US-Taiwan military ties," ministry spokesperson Zhang Xiaogang said in a statement.
(With AP inputs)