China on Wednesday blamed Taiwan for escalating tensions, saying the island's actions led Beijing to send in dozens of aircraft into its air defense identification zone the day before.
Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesman for China's Taiwan Affairs Office, said during a press conference that the country believes the island, over which Beijing claims control, is working with foreign governments in an effort to seek formal independence.
"We will never tolerate attempts to seek independence or wanton intervention in the Taiwan issue by foreign forces, so we need to make a strong response to these acts of collusion," Ma said, according to Reuters.
While China asserts sovereignty over the island, it has governed itself for decades following the Chinese Civil War.
Taiwan had said that a total of 28 Chinese planes, including fighter jets and nuclear-capable bombers, flew into its airspace Tuesday, marking the largest incursion yet following a series of repeated missions by China’s air force.
The Chinese air force mission Tuesday came as the U.S. Navy said a carrier group led by the USS Ronald Reagan had entered the disputed South China Sea, Reuters reported.
A senior official told Reuters that Taiwanese authorities believed China through its fly-by sought to send a message to the U.S.
"It's strategic intimidation of the U.S. military,” the person familiar with Taiwan’s security planning said. “They wanted the United States to notice their capability and for them to restrain their behaviour."
China’s actions came just days after Group of Seven (G-7) leaders issued a joint statement seeking to defend the "importance of peace and stability” across the Taiwan Strait, which separates the two.
Following the statement, Beijing accused the G-7 of “political manipulation.”
A government spokesman told the G-7 leaders to "stop slandering China, stop interfering in China's internal affairs, and stop harming China's interests," according to the BBC.
U.S. military leaders have ramped up concerns in recent months of a potential Chinese invasion into Taiwan.