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25 Chinese military jets had entered Taiwan's air zone on Monday, Apr. 12, Taiwan reported.
Largest reported incursion to date
The incursion into Taiwan's air defence identification zone (ADIZ) happened one day after the United States (U.S.) Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed concern about China's increasingly aggressive behaviour towards Taiwan during an interview with NBC.
This breach by China is the largest reported incursion to date, according to Reuters.
The incursion involved 18 fighter jets, four bombers that can carry nuclear weapons, two anti-submarine aircraft and an early warning aircraft, according to Taiwan's defence ministry.
They said that they had sent out combat aircraft to warn the Chinese jets, and missile systems were deployed to monitor them.
China sees Taiwan as a breakaway territory, and has not renounced the use of force to bring the self-ruling island under its control.
It sees Taiwan's sovereignty as one of its core issues that have no room for negotiation at all.
Increasing tensions between China and Taiwan
The move by China comes as relations between Taiwan and the Asian powerhouse has grown increasingly tense in recent months.
In December 2020, Taiwan said that it will not use Chinese-made Covid-19 vaccines due to "safety concerns", not politics.
Taiwan's Minister for Health and Welfare said that Chinese-made vaccines were found to have problems in the past, adding that vaccination is science-related, and that it is inappropriate to look at it through ideological lenses.
In February this year, China imposed a ban on Taiwan's pineapple imports, citing concerns about "harmful creatures" allegedly detected in recent shipments.
Taiwan officials called the move unacceptable, accusing China of weaponising trade.
U.S. says it has legal commitment to ensure Taiwan can defend itself
With regard to his worries about an increasingly aggressive China, Blinken reiterated in his interview with NBC that the U.S. had a legal commitment to Taiwan, and said that the U.S. will "make sure that Taiwan has the ability to defend itself".
"It would be a serious mistake for anyone to try to change the existing status quo by force," Blinken said.
Some analysts and U.S. military officials have remarked that tensions between Taiwan and China are now at their highest since the mid-1990s, The Guardian reported.
China signalling to U.S.?
China has expressed anger and disapproval towards the U.S.'s arms sales to Taiwan, after the U.S. sold US$5 billion (S$6.68 billion) worth of arms sales to Taiwan in 2020.
With China carrying out regular flights over international waters between the Southern part of Taiwan and the Taiwanese-controlled Pratas Islands in the South China Sea in recent months, there are speculations to what China may be planning, said BBC China correspondent Stephen McDonell.
Many are speculating whether this could be simply intimidation, or a trial run by China for an actual attack on Taiwan.
While China may be simply signalling its disapproval towards the U.S. for the superpower's interference with its cross-border politics with Taiwan, an actual invasion on Taiwan in the future is still on the cards.
Besides the South China Sea, Taiwan is said to be a potential flashpoint for armed conflict between China and the U.S.
Top image via Getty Images, Xinhua
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