BOMBERS AWAY : WORLD War Three fears are mounting after China flew 19 nuke bombers and fighter jets into Taiwan air space for “invasion” war games.
The Taiwanese air force responded by scrambling combat aircraft, issuing radio warnings and deploying air defence missile systems to monitor the activity, the defence ministry said.
The latest Chinese military incursion on Sunday involved 10 J-16 and four Su-30 fighter jets, an anti-submarine aircraft, and four H-6 bombers, which can carry nuclear weapons, Taiwan’s Defence Ministry added.
The Chinese aircraft flew in an area closer to the coast of China, roughly northeast of the island of Pratas, according to a map provided by the ministry.
China regards Taiwan as part of its territory and has long threatened to use force to bring it under its control.
Taipei has been complaining for more than a year about repeated missions by China’s air force near the island.
Earlier this year, China vowed to invade Taiwan and offered a glimpse of a terrifying three-stage plan to pave the way for an invasion force to storm the breakaway island.
Any invasion would represent a serious escalation of hostilities and could drag in the US through its pact to defend Taiwan.
Tensions have been bubbling in the seas around China for months where the US and Japan are reported to have been holding joint military exercises amid fears of a possible conflict.
In July, China staged massive military drills including assault landings and island-control exercises in a bid to demonstrate the communist state’s military might over Taiwan.
China has described its war games as necessary to protect the country’s sovereignty and deal with “collusion” between Taipei and Washington.
And fears of conflict are mounting after Taiwan’s defence ministry last week warned China’s armed forces could “paralyse” its defences.
‘PLAYING WITH FIRE’
China told Taiwan it should be “trembling” as the US “won’t protect” the island from invasion.
In another chilling message, Beijing warned the US it is “playing with fire” and pledged to “crush” Taiwan if it seeks independence.
Beijing often launches military missions in Taiwan’s air space to express displeasure at comments made by the island, or at shows of international support for Taiwan – especially from the US.
Although it’s not clear what prompted the latest incursion, a US warship and a US Coast Guard cutter sailed through the Taiwan Strait late last month.
It comes just weeks after China sent 11 warplanes into Taiwan’s airspace during war games – threatening “immediate” invasion.
The six fighter jets, two bombers and three surveillance aircraft flew into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone.
ONE CHINA POLICY
Relations between Taiwan and China have been strained since 2016 after the Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen hit back at the “One China” policy pursued by Beijing, which does not recognise Taiwanese independence.
Under the policy, Taiwan is viewed as a breakaway province of the country rather than a separate country with its own government.
The One China policy is a key cornerstone of Sino-US diplomatic relations and was recognised by former president Donald Trump.
Washington, however, has always maintained a “robust unofficial” relationship with Taiwan and has continued to sell arms to the island.