According to the Taiwanese government, the incursion took place on Tuesday, June 15, and included 20 fighter jets, four nuclear-capable bombers, as well as aircraft for anti-submarine warfare and early warning purposes.
China blames Taiwan's government for tensions
The incident took place in the wake of a statement issued by the Group of Seven (G7) leaders on June 13, which called China out on issues such as:
- Human rights abuses in the region of Xinjiang,
- Peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits,
- Hong Kong's autonomy, and
- A thorough investigation into the origins of Covid-19 in China.
When asked if the incursion was related to the G7 statement, a spokesman for China's Taiwan Affairs office, Ma Xiaoguang, said that Taiwan's government was to blame for tensions.
He added, "We will never tolerate attempts to seek independence or wanton intervention in the Taiwan issue by foreign forces, so we need to make a strong response to these acts of collusion."
China has also slammed the G7 statement as "slandering" it.
Taiwan thanks G7 for support
Meanwhile, Taiwan has thanked the G7 for their support.
In adding that it will be a "force for good", he said:
"Taiwan will certainly adhere to its role as a responsible member of the region, and it will also firmly defend the democratic system and safeguard shared universal values."
Incursion meant to send signal to the U.S.
Reuters further highlighted that the incursion also occurred on the same day that a U.S. carrier group, led by the USS Ronald Regan, entered the South China Sea.
A spokesperson for the carrier group said that they did not interact with any Chinese aircraft while operating in the area.
Meanwhile, an official familiar with Taiwan's security planning was quoted as saying that the incursion is believed to be part of China's attempt to send a message to the U.S. through "strategic intimidation."
"They wanted the United States to notice their capability and for them to restrain their behaviour," he added.
Previously, China's largest incursion into Taiwan occurred in April, when 25 Chinese military aircraft entered Taiwan's air zone.
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.
Top image via China Military