China’s Taiwan Affairs office has urged outside powers to step back and avoid meddling in the island’s affairs, and called on local political forces to stop their "independence" rhetoric.
“We will never tolerate attempts to seek independence or wanton intervention in the Taiwan issue by foreign forces, so we need to make a strong response to these acts of collusion,” Taiwan Office spokesperson Ma Xiaoguang said in a press statement after being asked about Beijing’s military activities near the island.
Ma’s comments followed the Taiwanese Defence Ministry’s announcement late on Tuesday that a record 28 People’s Liberation Army Air Force aircraft, including fighters, maritime strike, and strategic bombers, and early warning and control aircraft had entered Taipei’s so-called "Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ)" in the space of 24 hours, flying over the disputed Pratas Islands and near the island’s southern tip.
28 PLA aircraft (Y-8 ASW, H-6*4, Y-8 EW, KJ-500 AEW&C*2, J-16*14 and J-11*6) entered #Taiwan’s southwest ADIZ on June. 15, 2021. Please check our official website for more information: https://t.co/JnfN8bOwgl pic.twitter.com/MBJv2jbNMZ— 國防部 Ministry of National Defense, R.O.C. 🇹🇼 (@MoNDefense) June 15, 2021
The People’s Republic does not recognise Taipei’s ADIZ, and considers Taiwan itself to be an inalienable part of China – similarly to how Taiwan formally claims mainland China to be its territory.
Tuesday’s PLAAF flyby came as the US deployed another carrier strike group into the highly-contested South China Sea, and amid reports that the Pentagon was considering creating a permanent task force in the Pacific region to “counter China,” adding to the hundreds of military bases and 130,000 troops the US already has in the region.
Beijing blasted the statement, with the Chinese Embassy in the UK saying that “China’s internal affairs must not be interfered in, China’s reputation must not be slandered, and China’s interests must not be violated.” The Embassy added that it considered the G7’s position on Taiwan and the situations in Xinjiang and Hong Kong to be a distortion of the facts which exposed the “sinister intentions of a few countries such as the United States.”
The Biden administration has been beefing up military aid to Taiwan and expanding diplomatic support to the island since he took office in January, with the White House sending a diplomatic delegation to the island in April to “signal” the president’s “personal” commitment to Taipei.
A month before that, US Indo-Pacific Command chief Admiral Philip Davidson warned lawmakers in Washington that China could “invade” Taiwan within “the next six years.” Beijing dismissed the “invasion” claims, saying that “some US people” were using the Taiwan issue to “hype up China’s military threat” as an excuse to ramp up America’s military spending and meddling abroad.
Last week, a group of US senators arrived in Taiwan to express US support to the island. China’s defence ministry blasted the visit as a “vile provocation.”confirmed that Washington was “engaged in conversations” with Taiwan and would soon be working on “some kind of framework agreement” with tis government. He also confirmed US plans to provide additional weapons to the island amid “real concerns” about Beijing’s “aggression.”
Washington is formally committed to the so-called One China policy recognising the People’s Republic as the sole representative of China internationally after severing diplomatic ties with Taipei in the late 1970s. Unofficially, the US has continued to provide diplomatic and military assistance to the island throughout the decades, and supported efforts by the island’s politicians to prevent Taiwan’s peaceful reunification with the mainland.