Three United States military aircraft flew close to Taiwan early Wednesday, two days after Chinese military planes crossed into Taiwan airspace, according to the Ministry of National Defense (MND).
The American aircraft -- an MC-130J Commando II multi-mission combat transport plane and two B-52 Stratofortress long-range, swept-wing heavy bombers - flew past Taiwan at different times of the day and on different routes, the MND said.
The two B-52 Stratofortress bombers flew past Taiwan's east coast, heading south, early Wednesday morning, while the MC-130J Commando II took a route over the Taiwan Strait, also going south, later in the morning, the ministry said.
It was the second time this month that a U.S. B-52 bomber entered Taiwan's airspace, while an American MC-130J aircraft last flew past Taiwan, over the Taiwan Strait, on Nov. 6, 2019, according to the MND.
The flights Wednesday by the U.S. military planes came two days after a number of Chinese H-6 bombers and escorting aircraft passed south of Taiwan and into the Western Pacific, before returning to their bases as part of a long-distance training session, according to the MND.
The escorting planes briefly crossed the Taiwan Strait median line and entered Taiwan's airspace, but they retreated to the western side of the line after Taiwan scrambled F-16 fighters and other military aircraft and issued radio warnings to the Chinese squadron, the MND said.
It was the second day in a row that Chinese military aircraft were seen on a similar path near Taiwan.
On Sunday, Chinese J-11 jet fighters, KJ-500 early warning aircraft and H-6 bombers flew over the Bashi Channel south of Taiwan and into the Western Pacific Ocean, before returning to their bases via the Miyako Strait northeast of Taiwan, according to the MND.
Taiwan's Air Force responded by scrambling its missile-equipped F-16 jets and mobilizing other surveillance and air defense assets, according to the MND.
Late Monday, Zhang Chunhui (張春暉), a spokesperson for the People's Liberation Army of the China Eastern Theater Command, said it was a Chinese military training session, meant to "quell any attempts by Taiwan to separate from China."
Asked to comment on the Chinese military aircraft's operations near the Taiwan Strait earlier this week, a U.S. State Department spokesperson told CNA that "Beijing's efforts to unilaterally alter the status quo are harmful and do not contribute to regional stability."
"Rather, they undermine the framework that has enabled peace, stability, and development for decades," the spokesperson said. "Beijing should immediately cease its coercive efforts and resume dialogue with the democratically elected administration on Taiwan."