Taiwan says 103 warplanes skirted airspace as China’s ‘harassment’ drills rise

China’s military deployed 103 warplanes towards Taiwan in a 24-hour period, authorities on the island said.

Taiwan’s Defence Ministry revealed the number of Chinese planes approaching Taiwanese airspace was the highest number of planes in a 24-hour period in recent times.

The Chinese planes were detected between 6am on Sunday and 6am on Monday.

As is customary, they turned back before reaching Taiwan.

China Taiwan
China Taiwan A US-made Kidd Class destroyer monitors the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong in the background, near Taiwanese waters (Taiwan Ministry of National Defence via AP)

Taiwan’s Defence Ministry labelled China’s military action as “harassment” and warned it could escalate in the current tense atmosphere.

It said in a statement: “We urge the Beijing authorities to bear responsibility and immediately stop such kind of destructive military activities.”

The ministry added that 40 of the planes crossed the symbolic halfway point between mainland China and the island.

It also reported nine naval vessels approaching island waters in the previous 24 hours.

China, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory, has conducted increasingly large military drills in the air and water around Taiwan as tensions have grown between the two and with the United States.

Taiwan is a self-governing island that China claims.