ALMOST 40 CHINESE WARPLANES BREACH TAIWAN STRAIT MEDIAN LINE
Taiwan’s President Tsai lng-wen has accused Beijing of purposefully inflaming tensions in East Asia, after Chinese warplanes crossed the sensitive median line across the narrow strait that separates the mainland and the self-governing island almost 40 times on Friday and Saturday.
Taken together, the repeated incursions, which came from multiple directions and involved a combination of sophisticated fighter jets and heavy bombers, is without modern precedent and marks a significant escalation in cross-strait tensions.
“What we are seeing now is not just a situation across the Taiwan Strait, but a regional situation. China’s recent military activities, especially in the past few days, clearly constitute a threat of force, which is part of their verbal attacks and military threats (against Taiwan),”President Tsai Ing-wen said.
The uptick in Chinese military activity came as Keith Krach, the United States under secretary of state for economic, energy and environmental affairs, held meetings in the island’s capital Taipei, ahead of a memorial service on Saturday for former Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui.
The three-day visit to the island was denounced by Beijing, with a spokesman for the country’s Foreign Ministry demanding the two sides “immediately stop” official exchanges.