The Chinese government has issued a terrifying warning of war, following its largest-ever airforce invasion into Taiwan's air defence zone over the weekend.
In an article in The Global Times on Monday (local time), the Chinese government said pressures from the United States, Japan and the DPP (Democratic Progressive Party) have created a "sense of urgency that the war may be triggered at any time".
The article in the state-run publication stated the “peaceful atmosphere on the island territory that existed in the area only a few years ago has all but disappeared".
A total of 149 Chinese warplanes crossed into Taiwan’s air defence zone over a four-day period beginning on Friday, the last of which occurred just hours after the US State Department urged Beijing to “cease” its military intimidation, labelling it “provocative” and “destabilising”.
'Not just a verbal threat'
The Taiwan defence ministry said it scrambled aircraft to broadcast warnings after 56 planes entered its southwest air defence identification zone (ADIZ) on Monday (local time).
In response, the defence ministry said it had tasked combat air patrol aircraft, issued radio warnings and deployed air defence missile systems to monitor the activity.
However, the article in The Global Times "warned" DPP authorities and their supporters "not continue to play with fire".
"They should see that the Chinese mainland’s preparation to use force against Taiwan secessionist forces is much stronger than ever before," the article read.
Oct. 1 wasn't a good day. The #PLAAF flew 38 warplanes into #Taiwan's ADIZ, making it the largest number of daily sorties on record. Threatening? Of course. It's strange the #PRC doesn't bother faking excuses anymore. JW
(📸 via @MoNDefense) pic.twitter.com/U2fHUwV5uK
— 外交部 Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ROC (Taiwan) 🇹🇼 (@MOFA_Taiwan) October 2, 2021
"If the US and the DPP authorities do not take the initiative to reverse the current situation, the Chinese mainland's military punishment for 'Taiwan independence' secessionist forces will eventually be triggered.
"Time will prove that this warning is not just a verbal threat."
China claims Taiwan — a democratically-governed island — as its own territory, and it should be taken by force if necessary.
Taiwan says they are an independent country and will defend their freedoms and democracy.
The country has complained for more than a year of repeated missions near it by China's air force, often in the southwestern part of its air defence zone close to the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands.
Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang told reporters they "must be on alert".
"China is more and more over the top," he said.
"The world has also seen China's repeated violations of regional peace and pressure on Taiwan."
US will continue to support Taiwan
The US, Taiwan's main military supplier, made a statement on Monday reiterating they would continue to support the Taiwan Strait.
In the statement, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said they were "concerned" by China's "provocative military activity" near Taiwan.
"[It's] destabilising, risks miscalculations, and undermines regional peace and stability," Mr Price said.
"We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure and coercion against Taiwan."
Mr Price added the US had an "abiding interest" in peace and stability in Taiwan.
"The US commitment to Taiwan is rock solid and contributes to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and within the region."
Japan said it was watching the situation closely, and hoped Taiwan and China could resolve their differences through talks.
"Japan believes that it is crucial for the situation surrounding Taiwan to be peaceful and stable," Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said.
"Additionally, instead of simply monitoring the situation, we hope to weigh the various possible scenarios that may arise to consider what options we have, as well as the preparations we must make."
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