The Chinese army announced that it conducted combat exercises around Taiwan on Sunday, focusing on land and sea attacks, in the second such exercise in less than a month.
The Chinese army’s Eastern Region Command said in a statement late on Sunday that its forces had conducted “joint combat readiness patrols and active combat exercises” in the sea and airspace around Taiwan.
In a brief statement, it added that the aim of the exercises is to test joint combat capabilities and “firmly counter the provocative actions of external forces and separatist forces demanding Taiwan independence”.
The Defense Ministry in Taipei said on Monday that 28 Chinese aircraft had entered Taiwan’s air defense zone in the past 24 hours.
China conducted similar exercises late last month, and Taiwan said at the time that 43 Chinese aircraft had crossed the middle line of the Taiwan Strait, an unofficial buffer between the two sides.
China has made regular incursions into waters and airspace near Taiwan over the past three years.
China regards Taiwan as its territory and has never renounced the use of force to bring the island under its control.
China held war games near Taiwan in August after Nancy Pelosi, then Speaker of the US House of Representatives, visited Taipei.
On the other hand, a delegation of German parliamentarians, the Bundestag, arrived in Taiwan early Monday morning for a four-day visit, amid escalating tensions in the region.
The German delegation, headed by Marie-Agnes Schreck-Zimmermann, chair of the Bundestag Defense Committee, arrived at a time when Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said 57 Chinese warplanes had been detected within its airspace in the past 24 hours.
The Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said 28 planes crossed the central Taiwan Strait.
In addition, four ships of the Chinese military’s navy were spotted around Taiwan in the 24 hours until 6:00 am local time (22:00 pm Sunday GMT).
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry welcomed the German delegation, which includes 10 lawmakers from the Free Democratic Party. Since last October, Germany has sent three parliamentary delegations to Taiwan to show its solidarity with Taipei.
The delegation will meet Taiwan President Tsai Ing-won, Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang, Secretary-General of the National Security Council Wellington Koo, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, Parliament Speaker Yu Si-kun and other senior officials.
According to Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry, the delegation will also meet members of the military, opposition party leaders, human rights activists and others.
On Monday, Taiwan also received five parliamentarians from Lithuania for a six-day official visit, led by the Chairman of the National Security and Defense Committee of the Lithuanian parliament, Laurinas Kasionas.
On Sunday, Beijing announced that it had conducted joint standby patrols and combat exercises around Taiwan on the same day to counter collusion between outside powers and Taiwan independence forces, according to a statement by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.
Taiwan has had an independent government since 1949, but China regards the self-governing democracy as part of its territory.