Tsai Ing-wen and Xi Jinping Photograph:( Reuters )
Chinese air force planes including 12 fighter jets entered Taiwan's air defence identification zone for a second day on Sunday, Taiwan said, as tensions rise near the island just days into US President Joe Biden's new administration
The Chinese government, in its first official comment on its warplanes flying near Taiwan last weekend, said Wednesday that such actions are a "solemn warning'' to both foreign interference in Taiwan and any independence moves.
Armed and ready to go, Taiwan air force jets screamed into the sky on Tuesday in a drill to simulate a war scenario, showing its fleet's battle readiness after dozens of Chinese warplanes flew into the island's air defence zone over the weekend.
Chinese air force planes including 12 fighter jets entered Taiwan's air defence identification zone for a second day on Sunday, Taiwan said, as tensions rise near the island just days into US President Joe Biden's new administration.
Taiwan, claimed by China as its territory, has been on edge since the large-scale incursion by Chinese fighters and nuclear-capable bombers into the southwestern part of its air defence identification zone on Saturday and Sunday, which coincided with a US carrier group entering the South China Sea.
Zhu Fenglian, a spokesperson for China's Taiwan Affairs Office, said that China's military drills are to show the nation's resolution to protect its national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Zhu said that China would not renounce the use of force to guard against separatist moves and foreign interference.
"Our position has been consistent and will not change," she said.
Taiwan's Defence Ministry said China sent six J-10 fighters, four J-16s, two SU-30s, a Y-8 reconnaissance aircraft and two Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft into the country's air defence identification zone on Saturday, according to Taiwan's Defense Ministry. Taiwan scrambled fighters to monitor the activity.
The US State Department later issued a statement urging China "to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure against Taiwan" following China's sizeable show of force.
Taiwan is a self-governing island about 160 kilometres (100 miles) off China's east coast. The Chinese government regards it as a renegade province that should be united with mainland China.
Taiwan's air force is well trained, but has far fewer combat aircraft than China and has strained under the pressure of almost constantly having to scramble in recent months, responding to stepped-up Chinese activity near the island.