US condemns ‘provocative’ Chinese military activity near Taiwan

US State Department spokesman called on Beijing to cease its ‘military, diplomatic’ coercion against Taiwan.

Beijing marked its national day by buzzing Taiwan with 38 warplanes [File: Aly Song/Reuters]

The United States has condemned China’s largest-ever incursion into Taiwan’s air defence zone, which it described as “provocative” and “destabilising” military activity.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price on Sunday called on Beijing to cease its “military, diplomatic, and economic pressure and coercion against Taiwan”.

“The United States is very concerned by the People’s Republic of China’s provocative military activity near Taiwan, which is destabilising, risks miscalculations, and undermines regional peace and stability,” Price said in a statement.

The comment followed a new record incursion on Saturday by 39 planes, a day after Beijing marked its National Day by buzzing the self-ruled democratic island with 38 warplanes, including nuclear-capable H-6 bombers.

Taiwan sent combat aircraft to warn away the Chinese aircraft, while missile systems were deployed to monitor them.

Beijing claims the self-ruled island of 23 million as its own and has not ruled out the use of force to achieve its goal.

Taiwanese Premier Su Tseng-chang told reporters on Saturday, “China has been bellicose and damaging regional peace while engaging in many bullying acts.”

“It’s evident that the world, the international community, rejects such behaviours by China more and more,” he said.

Chinese warplanes are crossing into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ) on a near-daily basis.

The ADIZ is not the same as Taiwan’s territorial airspace, but includes a far greater area that overlaps with part of China’s air defence identification zone and even includes some of mainland China.

Beijing has ramped up pressure on Taipei since Tsai Ing-wen was elected president in 2016. She was re-elected in a landslide in 2020.

The US has promised to “continue to assist Taiwan in maintaining a sufficient self-defence capability”.

“The US commitment to Taiwan is rock solid and contributes to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and within the region,” Price said.

China has yet to comment on its activities. It has previously said such flights were to protect the country’s sovereignty and aimed at “collusion” between Taiwan and the US, the island’s most important international backer.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies