The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will take all necessary measures to “crush” efforts supporting Taiwanese sovereignty because “Taiwan independence means war,” a spokesman for China’s Ministry of National Defense said Thursday.
Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said a “handful” of people in Taiwan are seeking the island’s independence at a monthly news briefing on January 28.
“We warn those ‘Taiwan independence’ elements: those who play with fire will burn themselves, and ‘Taiwan independence’ means war,” Wu said.
The U.S. Navy deployed its Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group to sail through the South China Sea near Taiwan last weekend in an action supporting “freedom of the seas.” Shortly afterward, China’s air force responded by deploying eight bombers, four fighter jets, and one anti-submarine warfare plane to cross into Taiwan’s southwestern Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ). China’s PLA has ordered such air sorties more than 100 times since mid-September in an effort to intimidate the sovereign island, which Beijing considers a renegade territory.
When reported asked him Thursday about China’s most recent air force activity near Taiwan on January 23, Wu responded: “The military activities carried out by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army in the Taiwan Strait are necessary actions to address the current security situation in the Taiwan Strait and to safeguard national sovereignty and security.”
“They are a solemn response to external interference and provocations by ‘Taiwan independence’ forces,” he added.
“Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory, and the Taiwan question falls under China’s internal affairs and brooks no interference from any external forces,” China’s defense ministry spokesman said.
In reality, Taiwan has been a sovereign state for decades, with its own governmental structure, military, and society.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has repeatedly stated that Taiwan is an independent country despite Beijing’s insistence that the island, located off China’s southeastern coast, is a breakaway territory rightfully belonging to China. Beijing has vowed to forcefully reunify Taiwan with mainland China if necessary.
Six Chinese fighter jets entered Taiwan’s southwest ADIZ on January 28, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND).
“Four J-10 multirole fighter aircraft, a KJ-500 airborne early warning and control aircraft, and a Y-8 electronic signals intelligence plane entered the airspace between Taiwan and the Dongsha (Pratas) Islands in the South China Sea,” MND data revealed Thursday.
“In response to the incursion, Taiwan’s Air Force scrambled planes to monitor the Chinese aircraft, issued radio warnings and mobilized air defense assets until the Chinese aircraft left the ADIZ,” the MND said.
“An ADIZ, which usually extends beyond sovereign airspace, is established by a country to allow early identification, location and control of approaching foreign aircraft. However, unlike territorial airspace, no legal foundation for the ADIZ is explicitly stipulated in international law,” Taiwan’s state-owned Central News Agency noted Thursday.