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Taiwan scrambled its air force Thursday after reporting Chinese aircraft in its airspace.
The reported move by China comes as Russia launched a full-scale invasion of the former Soviet state of Ukraine over the warnings of severe sanctions by the West. The “provocative military action,” as one U.S. Defense official called it, comes as concerns grow that China may invade Taiwan.
The reported move by China “is not unusual,” a U.S. Defense official told Fox News on Thursday. “China has done this in the past a couple months ago, had similar type of events regularly.”
China’s last excursion into Taiwanese airspace happened on January 23 when 39 Chinese aircraft flew through Taiwan defense space. On Thursday, Taiwan reported that nine Chinese aircraft flew into the island nation’s airspace.
The U.S. remains “concerned” by “provocative military action near Taiwan,” the U.S. official continued. “The United States will continue to support a peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues, consistent with the wishes and best interests of the people on Taiwan,” the official said.
On Tuesday, a Chinese media figure wrote a blog advising Chinese journalists on how to cover the Russia-Ukraine conflict, noting a deference to Russia and hinting at China following Russia’s advance on Ukraine with its own push toward Taiwan. As The Washington Post reported:
“Simply put, China has to back Russia up with emotional and moral support while refraining from treading on the toes of the United States and European Union,” Ming Jinwei, a popular commentator and senior editor at Xinhua News Agency wrote Tuesday in his WeChat blog.
It doesn’t hurt to be moderately pro-Russian in words, he added, because in the longer run, Beijing is trying to get Russian support on Taiwan. “In the future, China will also need Russia’s understanding and support when wrestling with America to solve the Taiwan issue once and for all,” he wrote.
Russia launched a full-scale invasion against Ukraine on Thursday, beginning with airstrikes and rocket attacks on military instillations and cities across Ukraine. Russia followed up the bruising with ground forces, with some closing in on the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.
In a speech early Thursday, Putin warned against outside nations interfering in the Russia-Ukraine conflict with what appeared to be a veiled threat of nuclear war. As The Daily Wire reported:
“Whoever would try to stop us and further create threats to our country, to our people, should know that Russia’s response will be immediate and lead you to such consequences that you have never faced in your history. We are ready for any outcome,” Putin said.
He remarked that Russia “remains one of the most powerful nuclear states” with “a certain advantage in several cutting edge weapons.”
He said: “There should be no doubt that any potential aggressor will face defeat and ominous consequences should it directly attack our country.”