The visit to Taiwan of a key member of Japan's ruling party did not go down well with China. It sent a record 18 nuclear-capable H-6 bomber aircraft into Taiwan's air defence zone, reported the island's Defence Ministry on Tuesday.

Taiwan said that it detected 29 aircraft around the island over the last 24 hours. The warplanes were detected in Taiwan's southwest air defence identification zone (ADIZ).

The defence ministry said that it "closely monitored" the situation and employed its fighter jets to track the Chinese planes.

The exercise involved Xian H-6 strategic bombers, the latest in a series of Chinese military activities close to Taiwan. Three Chinese naval vessels were also spotted by Taiwan, per a report in The Independent.

The latest development comes after Koichi Hagiuda, the most senior member of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), paid a visit to Taiwan on Sunday.

China considers Taiwan to be its breakaway province. It has never ruled out the use of force to bring Taipei under its control, but since Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen took office in May last year, Beijing fears the democratic leader may seek independence for the self-ruled nation.

Taiwan has long warned Beijing against increasing its military activities in its airspace, but China has only increased military activities in the past two years to force Taiwan to accept its rule.

The tensions between the two nations have flared up since US Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan in August this year. Pelosi's visit was the highest-level US visit to Taiwan in 25 years.

China has ramped up economic, military, and diplomatic pressure on the island over the last few months. It has long defended flying over and around Taiwan and Japan as legal and reasonable and insisted that China has never targeted any specific country or region during these manoeuvres.

Taiwan has been on alert since Russia invaded Ukraine and believes that China could make a similar move.

Taiwan Flag
A CH-47 Chinook helicopter carries a Taiwan flag during national day celebrations in Taipei on October 10, 2021 Photo: AFP / Sam Yeh