By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, June 17: Taiwan recorded 28 Chinese aircrafts including fighter jets and those carrying nuclear bombs entering the island’s Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) on Wednesday. The reported incursion came after the G7 leaders issued a joint statement on Sunday that chided China on multiple fronts, including importance of ‘peace and stability’ across the Taiwan Strait.
The Taiwanese government has repeatedly complained about missions by Chinese air force near the south-western parts surrounding Pratas Islands in the past months. Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said that it was the largest mission, involving 14 J-16 and six J-11 fighters as well as four H-6 bombers, anti-submarine, electronic warfare and early warning aircrafts.
The Ministry said the Taiwanese combat aircraft were dispatched to intercept the Chinese aircraft and missile systems were also deployed to monitor them. China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesperson Ma Xiaoguang on Wednesday blamed the Taiwanese government for the tensions, “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.”
A senior official with Taiwan’s security planning told Reuters that it is believed China wanted to send a message to the US as the carrier group sailed through the Bashi Channel, which leads into the disputed South China Sea. “It’s strategic intimidation of the US military. They wanted the United States to notice their capability and for them to restrain their behaviour,” the official said.
A former ambassador to the UN under Trump’s presidency, Nikki Haley on Wednesday told 70 GOP lawmakers that the US should boycott the upcoming 2022 Beijing Olympics and also warned against losing Taiwan’s autonomous status. “If we don’t boycott, if we don’t do something to really call them out, mark my words: Taiwan is next. And if they take Taiwan, it’s all over, because they will think that gives them free rein to grab any territory, not in the region, but anywhere they want to go,” the former South Carolina governor further added.