With Record Military Incursions, China Warns Taiwan and the U.S.

China sent a record number of military aircraft to menace self-ruled Taiwan in a large show of force to the Biden administration, signaling that Beijing wants to maintain pressure on Taiwan even as some tensions between the superpowers are easing.

The swarm of Chinese fighter jets, maritime patrol planes and drones that buzzed the airspace near Taiwan in the 24-hour period leading to Monday morning demonstrated Beijing’s appetite for confrontation with the United States over Taiwan, the island democracy China claims as its territory.

The military activity — which, according to Taiwan, included at least 71 Chinese aircraft — came days after President Biden’s latest move to expand American support for the island. Beijing has denounced the United States’ effort as an attempt to contain China and interfere in its domestic affairs.

Tensions over Taiwan have been rising in the months since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island in August, prompting Beijing to step up its activity in the area with several days of live-fire drills. China said that the exercise was aimed at honing its ability to conduct joint patrols and military strikes, but also made clear what the target was.

“This was a firm response to the current escalation of collusion and provocations by the U.S. and Taiwan,” Senior Colonel Shi Yi, a spokesman for the Eastern Theater Command of the People’s Liberation Army, which faces Taiwan, said in a statement issued Sunday.

The military policy bill that President Biden signed into legislation on Friday lays out lawmakers’ national security priorities for the coming year. This year, U.S. lawmakers, eyeing the protracted war in Europe and rising tensions with China, approved funding for Ukraine and authorized up to $10 billion over the next five years for Taiwan.

“Such a large-scale action is, of course, a response to President Biden’s signing of the act,” said Su Tzu-yun, a security analyst at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research in Taipei. “This pattern will likely continue.”

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