China has flown another 27 military planes into Taiwan's airspace as tensions as around the South China Sea island continue to rise.
The Taiwanese Ministry of National Defense said that the Chinese military aircrafts entered the south west area of the nation's Air Defense Identification Zone earlier today.
They tweeted: '27 PLA aircraft (KJ-500 AEW&C*2, Y-9 EW, H-6*5, Y-20 Aerial Refueling, J-10*6, J-11*4 and J-16*8) entered Taiwan's southwest ADIZ on November 28, 2021.'
The latest move comes just days after China's military carried out 'combat readiness' patrols in the direction of the Taiwan Strait as a U.S. Congressional delegation made a surprise visit to Taipei and offered support to the Chinese-claimed, democratically governed island.
On Friday, the five members of the U.S. House of Representatives arrived in Taiwan for a two-day trip, the second time in a month U.S. lawmakers have visited.
China has flown 27 military planes in the southwest area of Taiwan's Air Defense Identification Zone
The Taiwanese Ministry of National Defense said that the Chinese military aircrafts had entered the southwest area
As with the last visit, China's military announced the patrols in the vicinity of the narrow and sensitive Taiwan Strait that separates the island from its giant neighbour.
The People's Liberation Army's Eastern Theatre Command said that on Friday it 'organised naval and air forces to continue combat readiness police patrols in direction of the Taiwan Strait'.
'The relevant actions are necessary to deal with the current situation in the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan is part of China's territory, and defending national sovereignty and territorial integrity is our military's sacred mission.'
China routinely denounces visits by U.S. politicians to Taiwan, and its foreign ministry said it had made a formal complaint to Washington about the latest trip by the bipartisan congressional group, saying playing the Taiwan card was 'a losing hand'.
Meeting Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen at her office earlier on Friday, the leader of the U.S. delegation praised the island as a 'force for good' in the world.
'Madame President, I want to commend and praise your leadership. Under your administration, the bonds between us are more positive and productive than they have been for decades,' said Mark Takano, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, whose group was previously in Japan and South Korea.
A PLA J-16 (file image) was among the military planes that were flown into the area
Also among the military aircrafts that entered Taiwan's airspace was a PLA Y-9 EW (file photo)
The Taiwanese Ministry of National said that PLA H-6 (file photo) was among the aircrafts spotted in the region
'Our commitment to Taiwan is rock solid and has remained steadfast as the ties between us have deepened. Taiwan is a democratic success story, a reliable partner and a force for good in the world,' he added.
The United States, like most countries, has no official ties with Taiwan but is the democratically-ruled island's most important international backer and arms supplier.
Congresswoman Nancy Mace, who is part of the delegation, tweeted that China's Washington embassy 'demanded we cancel the trip' when news of it broke.
'We didn't,' she added, and posted a picture of herself outside the U.S. Air Force jet that carried her to Taipei under the caption 'Just touched down in the Republic of Taiwan', a term used by supporters of the island's formal independence.
In October, China flew 52 aircraft into Taiwan's airspace in its single largest mission to date last month.
Taipei said 34 J-16 fighters accompanied 12 H-6 nuclear-capable bombers, two Su-30 jets and other military planes into its 'air defence identification zone'.
It came just weeks after China flew a total of 93 aircraft close to the island in five separate missions - the largest of which comprised of 25 planes.
Last month Chinese state media also issued threats to the island and its allies, asking 'whether Australia is willing to accompany Taiwan… to become cannon fodder' after its foreign minister reached out for help preparing his defences.
China's Global Times newspaper, a mouthpiece for the state, tweeted the threat, responding to minister Joseph Wu who had asked Australia and other 'like-minded' nations to share military intelligence and security information.
Separately, Global Times editor Hu Xijin tweeted that it is 'only a matter of time before Taiwan's separatist authorities fall'.
An editorial in the same newspaper then added that - unlike the 'guard of honour' in traditional parades - the planes flown towards Taiwan 'are fighting forces aimed at actual combat'.
'The increase in the number of aircraft showed the PLA Air Force's operational capabilities,' the newspaper said, adding: 'It is a clear and unmistakable declaration of China's sovereignty over the island.'
The operations are designed to familiarise pilots with 'battlefield conditions' so that 'once the order to attack is given' they will be able to fight like 'experienced veterans', the editorial concluded.
'There is no doubt about the future of the situation across the Taiwan Straits.
'The initiative of when and how to solve the Taiwan question is firmly in the hands of the Chinese mainland.'