China has issued a thinly-veiled warning to anyone who opposes its incursion of Taiwan – as a former Australian PM touches down in the East Asia country.
Fifty-two aircraft were flown by China over Taiwan’s air defence zone in a single day, Taipei officials said, marking a new record.
The defence ministry said late on Monday that, during the day, 34 of the 52 aircraft were fighter jets while 12 were bombers.
Taiwan Air Force had issued radio warnings and its air defence missile systems were activated to monitor the activity, the ministry said.
But China is unapologetic, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying saying “Taiwan belongs to China”.
“’Taiwan independence’ leads nowhere,” Hua said.
“China will take all necessary measures to resolutely crush all attempts at ‘Taiwan independence’.
“China has firm resolve and will to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Her comments followed the United States condemning the showing of military strength.
“The United States is very concerned by the People’s Republic of China’s provocative military activity near Taiwan, which is destabilising, risks miscalculations, and undermines regional peace and stability,” US state department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.
“We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure and coercion against Taiwan.”
Hua responded: “The one-China principle is the political foundation of China-US relations.
“On the Taiwan question, the US should abide by the one-China principle and the stipulations of the China-US joint communiques rather than something cooked up by itself unilaterally.”
Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Tuesday landed in Taiwan, according to local media outlet Taiwan News.
He’d recently been vocal in his criticism of China flexing its military muscle over Taiwan.
Abbott was welcomed by Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials, CNA reported.
It’s unclear what the purpose of his trip is.
The AUKUS agreement, last month struck between Australia, the UK and the US, was widely interpreted as an attempted to check China’s growing military assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, speaking after physically meeting with US President Joe Biden for the first time, said the region was a high priority for AUKUS.
“The Indo-Pacific is a region that we wish to be always free from coercion, where the sovereign rights of all nations are respected and where disputes are settled peacefully and accordance with international law,” Morrison said.