According to the New York Times, China sent a record number of aircraft to patrol near Taiwanese airspace on Monday amid renewed tensions between the two countries.
The Taiwanese Ministry of Defense said on Monday that a number of Chinese fighter jets, patrol and early warning aircraft, and military drones have penetrated its air defense system in the past 24 hours.
According to Taiwanese officials, a total of 71 Chinese aircraft were spotted on the island over the weekend, leading the Taiwanese military to use its fighter jets, naval vessels and land-based missile systems to respond to potential attacks, according to CNN.
Forty-seven of the 71 Chinese aircraft were flown across the Taiwan Strait, the midline that separates the two Asian countries, CNN reported.
China’s latest military initiatives came after President Biden signed the National Defense Authorization Act last week.
The defense authorization measure of $858 billion includes $10 billion in military aid to Taiwan through 2027 and $800 million in security aid to Ukraine in its ongoing war conflict against neighboring Russia.
Tensions between the two countries erupted after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) visited the sovereign country in early August. This was the first time that a high-level US official visited the country in 25 years. Pelosi’s trip to the nation upset Chinese officials, who warned the president not to go against their will and travel to the country.
China has increased its military and domestic political pressure against Taiwan in recent months.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Chinese military command for the Eastern Theatre, Colonel Shi Yi, said that the Chinese military had carried out joint combat readiness patrols and fire attack exercises around Taiwan. He said “this is a decisive response to the current escalation and provocation between the US and Taiwan.”
“The theater troupes will take all necessary measures to resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Shi said in a statement.