The action was taken shortly after US warships passed the independent island.
According to Taiwan’s Defense Ministry on Sunday, a substantial group of Chinese military ships and planes had been seen in the area amid rising regional tensions.
The ministry reported that 23 planes and eight Chinese Navy ships had been spotted near Taiwan. Ten aircraft “had flown on the east part of the Taiwan Strait median line,” which in reality acts as an unofficial border between the mainland of China and the island.
The Taiwanese military also stated that Beijing’s actions are being closely watched and that local combat air patrol has received pertinent directives.
The US sent two warships to the Taiwan Strait on a “regular” transit assignment, which the Navy described as an effort to “show the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.” The alleged Chinese deployment is believed to have occurred the next day.
In response, Beijing raised the military’s alert level and declared it was prepared “to stop any provocations promptly.” The US was previously criticized by China, which called it “the destroyer of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.”
Since the contentious visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taipei in early August, which severely damaged relations between Washington and Beijing and spurred a flurry of Chinese military operations in the area, tensions in the region have been at an all-time high. At the time, the Chinese Defense Ministry claimed that it had practiced amphibious assaults, ground strikes, and drills simulating a “blockade” of the island.
Beijing views visit by high-ranking US officials as assaults on its sovereignty and a violation of the “One China” concept because it sees the self-governing island as its territory. Since 1949, when Chinese nationalists retreated to the island after losing the Civil War to the Communists, the Taiwan Strait, which divides the autonomous island from mainland China, has been a source of military concern.
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