HONG KONG /XIANGGANG/, February 1. /TASS/. Taiwan has reported the approach of nine ships and 34 aircraft of the People's Liberation Army of China (PLA) in the region adjacent to the island over the past 24 hours, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said in a statement posted on its website on Wednesday.
According to the statement, "34 PLA aircraft and 9 PLAN vessels around Taiwan were detected by 6 a.m. (1 a.m. Moscow time - TASS) today."
It specified that the island's armed forces were monitoring the situation, and that Taiwan's aviation, Navy vessels and land-based missile systems were on high alert. Based on the Defense Ministry’s information, 20 PLA aircraft and drones entered the island’s air defense identification zone from the southwest. The vehicles were: Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft, BZK-005 and BZK-007 drones, J-16, J-11 and J-10 multi-role fighters, as well as Su-30s.
The PLA has been regularly patrolling the waters near the island in recent months. Tensions in the Taiwan Strait escalated after former Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi paid a visit to Taipei last August. The trip sparked extreme discontent in Beijing.
On Tuesday, Beijing strongly protested and made a stern presentation to the Czech authorities over a telephone conversation between that country's president-elect, Petr Pavel, and Taiwan's chief of staff, Tsai Ing-wen. As Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Mao Ning emphasized, China viewed this as interference in its domestic political affairs.
Taiwan has been governed by its own administration since 1949, when the remnants of the Kuomintang forces led by Chiang Kai-shek (1887-1975) fled there after their defeat in the Chinese Civil War. Official Beijing considers Taiwan a province of the People’s Republic of China, and this position is backed by numerous countries, including Russia.