Dozens of Chinese warplanes entered Taiwan's air defense zone on Wednesday, moments after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi flew out of the country following a diplomatic trip that has left China fuming. According to reports, at least 27 Chinese fighter jets including 16 Russian-made Su-30 jets entered Taiwan's airspace, prompting the country to take defensive measures.
This comes as China warned airlines operating in Asia to avoid flying in areas around Taiwan where it is conducting military exercises in response to Pelosi's visit to the island. The war games started by China on Sunday will see the Chinese navy and air force surround Taiwan in an effective blockade and cross its territorial waters.
China Makes Its Intentions Clear
China had warned the United States against sending Pelosi on a diplomatic visit to Taiwan. However, Pelosi landed and has now left. That has left China fuming and it is making its intentions clear. On Wednesday morning, shortly after Pelosi flew out of Taipei, 27 Chinese fighter jets entered Taiwan's air defense zone.
The island's defense ministry said in a statement on Twitter: "21 PLA aircraft ... entered #Taiwan's southwest ADIZ on August 2, 2022," referring to the air defense identification zone. Among these, there were 16 Russian-made Su-30 jets.
The sudden entry prompted Taiwan to take defensive measures. This comes as Taipei's generals said today that they "won't shy away from" going into a war with China even though they are not actively seeking one out.
"We are resolved to uphold our sovereignty, liberty and democracy" the generals said in a statement
"We fear no threat or challenges. We are not eager for a fight, nor will we shy away from one. We have the capacity and the will to uphold our valued liberty and democracy, and maintain our region's stability," the generals added.
Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, the most senior US official to do so in the past 25 years, has angered Xi Jinping only weeks before he is set to be elected to an unprecedented third term as China's president at the Party Congress.
This prompted China to carry out military exercises in Taiwan Strait around Taiwan. The entry into the country's air defense is just another way of proving how China can any time attack Taiwan especially because Taiwan too welcomed Pelosi.
On Wednesday, Pelosi spoke with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and reaffirmed US support for democracy on the island. This further infuriated China, prompting Beijing to send the 27 fighter jets.
"Today the world faces a choice between democracy and autocracy. America's determination to preserve democracy, here in Taiwan and around the world, remains ironclad," Ing-wen said in a short speech during a meeting with Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen.
Tsai Ing-wen added that the island of 23 million would not be cowed. "Facing deliberately heightened military threats, Taiwan will not back down. We will... continue to hold the line of defense for democracy," Tsai Ing-wen said at an event with Pelosi in Taipei.
Meanwhile, China warned other Asian countries not to use Taiwan's airspace and the areas around it where it is conducting military exercises in response to Pelosi's visit to the island.
An official notice sent late on Tuesday Hong Kong time designated six areas of airspace as "danger zones," according to carriers who received the message and Jang Chang Seog, a Korean transport ministry official. Flights will be restricted from from 12 p.m. Aug. 4, to 12 p.m. Aug. 7.