Taiwan detects 39 Chinese jets as Beijing extends military drills

China justifies downgrading military dialogue with US as Beijing says military exercises aimed to ‘warn those who cause trouble’.

Taiwan detects 39 Chinese jets as Beijing extends military drills

Taiwan on Monday said it had detected 39 Chinese military jets flying around the self-ruled island, as Beijing extended its massive military drills in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip last week.

“21 of the detected aircraft had flown on the east part of the median line of the Taiwan Strait and our SW ADIZ, flight paths as illustrated,” Taiwan's Defense Ministry said in a statement, referring to the self-declared air defense identification zone, or ADIZ, which the two militaries across the Taiwan Strait avoid crossing.

Likewise, 13 People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy warships were observed near the island nation, the ministry said, adding that in total, 39 PLA aircraft flew around Taiwan.

“Republic of China (Taiwan) armed forces have monitored the situation and responded to these activities with aircraft, naval vessels, and land-based missile systems,” according to the statement.

It comes after China stated early on Monday that it will continue military exercises near Taiwan.

The latest announcement means that China has extended the date of its large-scale military exercises, which began on Aug. 4 and were scheduled to conclude on Sunday.

The PLA’s Eastern Theater Command said it will “continue drills in waters near Taiwan island, focusing on anti-submarine and air-to-ship strikes.”

China held the exercises in response to Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, despite Beijing's warnings that the self-ruled island is its "breakaway province."

The Chinese military also launched ballistic missiles around Taiwan, some of which fell in waters claimed by Japan to be its exclusive economic zone.

Chinese Foreign Ministry's spokesperson Wang Wenbin described the military drills as "transparent, (and) professional."

“The military exercises abide by domestic and international laws as well as international practice. They aim to warn those who caused trouble, and punish Taiwan secessionists,” Wang said.

"The one-China principle is a prevailing international consensus and widely accepted basic norm in international relations. It constitutes part of the post-World War II order and is affirmed in UN General Assembly Resolution 2758," Wang said.

He added: "The definition of the one-China principle is crystal-clear, i.e. there is only one China in the world, Taiwan is part of China, and the government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China."

‘Downgrading of military dialogue with US justified’

Beijing also justified the downgrading of its military dialogue with the US.

Wu Qian, a senior colonel and spokesperson for China's Ministry of National Defense, blamed the US for the current “strain in the Taiwan Strait.”

"The US provoked it,” Wu claimed, adding that China's “countermeasures,” including canceling military theater-commander level dialogue, “are justified and proper.”

“The US is deliberately creating a crisis, and at the same time making an excuse to shift blame to others, which China firmly opposes. We urge the US to respect China's core interests and concerns, abandon to use the island of Taiwan to counter China," Wu said in a statement.

Beijing sanctioned Pelosi and her family as part of its response to her visit and announced eight steps to suspend or cancel cooperation with Washington.

Beijing announced eight countermeasures, including the cancellation of a phone call between the US and Chinese military chiefs, the cancellation of a working meeting between the Chinese and US Defense Departments, and the suspension of China-US cooperation on illegal immigrants, drug control, and climate change.

Pelosi is the first sitting US House speaker who visited Taiwan in the past 25 years.

She led a delegation of US lawmakers on a trip that began the previous Monday in Singapore, then went to Malaysia, and then to Taiwan, triggering an angry response from Beijing.

She left Taiwan on Wednesday evening for South Korea and finally landed in Tokyo on Thursday night to conclude her visit on Friday.

Taiwan was not mentioned in Pelosi's official tour agenda.

Hüseyin Demir

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