Taiwan has condemned China’s incursion into its airspace over two consecutive days this week.
According to the Taiwanese authorities on Thursday, Chinese military aircrafts crossed into its airspace south-west of the island during large-scale military exercises conducted by the People’s Liberation Army on Wednesday and Thursday.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs described Beijing’s actions as a “serious provocation” and a “grave threat to regional peace and stability.” It also warned that they constitute a “dangerous signal to… the international community.”
“Taiwan does not seek confrontation, but neither will it back down,” the statement read.
Separately, a spokesperson for the Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense urged for a de-escalation: “We urge Beijing authorities to order its army to exercise restraint,” General Chang Zhe-ping said, calling for Beijing to “stop being a troublemaker” and “harassing” the Taiwanese people.
Taiwan’s warning comes as it gains more international recognition recently following its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. Also last month, Taipei welcomed an official visit by a delegation of 90 Czech politicians led by Senate leader Milos Vystrcil. Beijing slammed the visit as a “serious infringement” on its sovereignty.
Early last month, US Health Minister Alex Azar also made an official three-day visit to President Tsai Ing-wen in what was the highest-profile visit by a US official in the 40 years since Washington shifted its diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing. The US has also signalled its intentions to form closer relations with Taiwan, citing China’s aggressive behaviour and a need to “restore balance” to the region.
The UK also made a similar suggestion of pursuing closer relations with Taiwan in spite of Beijing’s threats last Thursday. The UK Trade Minister Greg Hands said he took a “strong interest” in the Britain’s “superb bilateral trade relationship with Taiwan,” saying that he looked forward to “deepening” the London’s relationship with Taiwan during trade talks planned for later this year.
Taiwan has been ruled by the Republic of China government since 1945 after Japan — which occupied the island for 50 years — was defeated in the Second World War. The People’s Republic of China claims that Taiwan is one of its provinces and does not recognise it as an independent country.