China’s military sent 103 fighter jets toward Taiwan in a 24-hour period, in what the island’s Defense Ministry said represents a new daily record for recent times.
The aircraft were detected between 6 a.m. on Sunday and 6 a.m. on Monday, the ministry said. As usual, they returned before reaching Taiwan.
China, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory, has carried out increasingly extensive military exercises in the skies and waters near Taiwan as tensions rise between the two and with the United States. Washington is Taiwan’s main arms supplier and opposes any attempt to change the island’s status by force.
The island’s Ministry of Defense indicated that 40 of the planes detected between Sunday and early Monday morning crossed the symbolic line that separates Taiwan from mainland China. It also detected nine Navy vessels in the previous 24 hours.
The agency called Chinese military actions “harassment” that it warned could escalate amid current tensions. “We urge the authorities in Beijing to take responsibility and immediately put an end to such destructive military activities,” the ministry said in a statement.
Last week, China sent a flotilla of ships, including the aircraft carrier Shandong, into the waters near Taiwan. The maneuvers took place shortly after warships from the United States and Canada sailed through the Taiwan Strait, the waters that separate the island from China.