State media say the jets were crossing the strait but their destination or intention remain unknown
Beijing deployed several SU-35 fighter jets to the Taiwan Strait, on Tuesday, according to state TV CGTN. The broadcaster didn’t provide any additional details on where they were headed and what mission they intended to carry out.
The report came ahead of US House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s arrival at an airport on the self-governing island. Her plane took off from Malaysia and landed at Taiwan’s Songshan Airport at 10:44 pm local time.
Prior to this it was reported by Japan’s NHK that the US Air Force had deployed eight F-15 fighter jets and five tanker aircraft to escort the Air Force C-40 aboard which Pelosi was traveling.
Meanwhile, Taiwan had reportedly relocated French-supplied Mirage 2000 fighters and other military hardware to a military base in the southeastern part of the island where Pelosi’s plane was expected to land, according to Taiwan-based China Times.
Beijing, which considers Taiwan an integral part of its territory under the One China policy, has been adamant that it will not tolerate Washington’s encroachment on its sovereignty over the island, and has warned US officials against “playing with fire,” threatening “unbearable consequences” if the House speaker visits Taipei.
“This is a serious violation of the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-US joint communiqués. It has a severe impact on the political foundation of China-US relations, and seriously infringes upon China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement following Pelosi’s arrival in Taiwan.