Taiwan has said it is preparing for war with China as Beijing has deployed 129 warplanes to its airspace in just three days.
The chilling warning came as a record number of Chinese planes buzzed over the island, while official media in China called for Taiwan to be “crushed”.
China considers Taiwan part of its territory and has long threatened to use force to bring it under its control, with its military conducting regular offensive exercises.
A total of 77 warplanes flew over Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) over the weekend – the largest ever incursion by Chinese aircraft.
And Taiwan’s defense ministry said 52 planes, including nuclear-capable bombers, flew into the ADIZ on Monday alone, the largest single daily incursion ever.
This prompted Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu to say the region was ready to fight.
“The defense of Taiwan is in our own hands, and we are fully committed to it,” he Told Australia’s ABC broadcaster.
“If China is going to start a war against Taiwan we will fight to the end, and that is our commitment.
“I am sure that if China is going to attack against Taiwan, I think they will also suffer a lot.”
As well as infiltration by warplanes, to coincide with China’s National Day, Beijing is also intensifying its fight.
The state-run Global Times newspaper, seen as the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party, called on China to “crush” Taiwan.
“They have thus turned themselves into a bloc that the Chinese mainland must strategically rid themselves of and an evil force must crush the mainland,” it said.
Warplanes deployed in recent times include 26 J-16 fighter jets, 10 Su-30 fighter jets, two Y-8 anti-submarine warning aircraft and a KJ-500 aerial early warning and control aircraft.
If China is going to start a war against Taiwan, we will fight till the end, and that is our commitment.
Taiwan has repeatedly reported missions carried out by China’s air force that enter the island’s ADIZ near the Pratas Islands, which it controls.
But the recent incursion has broken the previous record for most flights – when 28 Chinese military planes flew over the airspace in June.
In response, the Taiwanese Air Force fired its jets, issued radio warnings, and deployed air defense missile systems.
Former Chinese President Chiang Kai-shek and his supporters fled to the island in 1949 after the Chinese Communist Party’s victory in the country’s civil war.
The island of 25 million people has since developed a democratic identity of its own and incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen’s party supports a move toward full independence – which Beijing says will trigger war.
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