As many as 70 Chinese aircraft and 11 naval ships were detected near the island of Taiwan on Monday, the Taiwanese Defense Ministry said on Twitter.
“Seventy PLA [People’s Liberation Army] aircraft and 11 PLAN [People’s Liberation Army Navy] vessels around Taiwan were detected at 6:00 a.m. (UTC+8) today,” the tweet reads.
According to the ministry, 35 aircraft crossed the Taiwan Strait’s so-called median line, entering southwestern and southeastern sectors of the island’s air defense identification zone. Taiwan’s armed forces monitored the situation, tasking combat air patrol aircraft, navy vessels and land-based missile systems to respond to those activities.
The Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army announced earlier that drills were taking place in the Strait of Taiwan on April 8-10. Earlier, US House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy held a meeting with Taiwanese Administration Head Tsai Ing-wen who was in transit through the US. After the meeting, the US emphasized the need to continue weapons sales to Taiwan. The Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a strong protest, saying that Beijing would take effective and decisive retaliatory measures.
Tensions in the Taiwan Strait escalated following US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan last August, which provoked a backlash from Beijing. Taiwan has been governed by its local administration since 1949. Beijing regards the island as one of its provinces. Washington remains Taiwan’s main supplier of weapons and military equipment.