China reportedly deployed 71 warplanes to skies around Taiwan in chilling ‘strike drill’ – then blames US for ‘provocations’ and ‘collusion’ with self-governing island.
The planes were deployed in the skies around Taiwan on Sunday. Sixty fighter jets took part in the drills, including six Su-30 warplanes, China’s most advanced.
The People’s Liberation Army said it had conducted a ‘strike drill’ on Sunday in response to unspecified ‘provocations’ and ‘collusion’ between the United States and the self-ruled island.
Data from Taiwan’s defense ministry showed those drills were one of the largest since they started releasing daily tallies.
Forty-seven of the sorties crossed into the island’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), the third-highest daily incursion on record, according to AFP’s database.
Taiwan, a self-governing democracy, lives under constant threat of invasion by China, which claims the democratic island as part of its territory, to be taken one day.
In September, President Biden went on the record and said US forces would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion.
The statement drew an angry response from China.Biden said during a CBS 60 Minutes interview that US forces would defend Taiwan, ‘if in fact, there was an unprecedented attack,’ Reuters reported.
The President appeared to go beyond long-standing stated US policy on Taiwan.
The US has stuck to a policy of ‘strategic ambiguity’ – not making clear on whether it would respond with their forces if there was an attack on Taiwan, the news outlet said. Beijing has ramped up military, diplomatic and economic pressure on Taiwan under President Xi Jinping as relations have deteriorated.
One of the pressure tactics China has increasingly used is probing Taiwan’s ADIZ with its warplanes.
So far this year, there have bee more than 1,700 such incursions compared with 969 in 2021 and 146 in 2020.
China did not specify the number of aircraft mobilized for Sunday’s exercises, nor the exact location of these maneuvers.