At least 16 Chinese warplanes invaded Taiwan’s air defense zone on Tuesday, a week after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island.
Since Thursday (4), Beijing has been carrying out military maneuvers, the largest ever held in the outskirts of Taiwan, in response to Pelosi’s trip, which the Chinese government called a provocation. China considers the island part of its territory.
According to the Taiwan Ministry of Defense, the aircraft crossed the line of the Taiwan Strait, which delimits the airspace of two countries.
Taiwanese army fires 155-inch projectiles during live-fire military exercise in Pingtung County — Photo: Sam Yeh / AFP Photo
In response, the Taiwanese government also began carrying out military exercises with live ammunition on Tuesday – in response to Beijing, which has also been using live ammunition and has even fired missiles into the Taiwan Sea.
The Taiwanese army said its drills began in southern Pingtung County, a slightly more distant part of China, with the firing of flares and artillery.
In addition to the planes, about 20 Chinese and Taiwanese navy boats are positioned near the midline of the Taiwan Strait, underlining the escalation of tensions in the region.
- After all, what is Taiwan and why is the island strategic for world powers
The dispute between China and the Taiwanese government over the island has been going on for decades, ever since opposition to the communists took refuge there.
The island of Taiwan was taken over by China from Japan in 1945 after World War II. But soon after, China entered Civil War, with communist and nationalist forces clashing. The communists, led by Mao Tse-tung, won the conflict, and with that, the nationalists fled to Taiwan, took the island and declared the Nationalist Republic of China there.
Nationalists claimed to be China’s legitimate government in exile. Beijing, which has since been led by the Communist Party, claims that Taiwan remains part of its territory and that it will take it back, by force if necessary.
Over the past few decades, however, both sides have “parked” their causes: neither Beijing has attempted to invade the island, nor Taipei has gone ahead with its plans to become independent.
But that strategy has changed in recent years. The current Chinese president, Xi Jinping, seeking re-election, has hardened his anti-Taiwan speech again and resumed military exercises around the island in the last year.. The stance coincided with the coming to power in the United States of Democrat Joe Biden, who has consistently spoken out in favor of Taiwan independence, a subject his predecessor, Donald Trump, barely touched on.
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