Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian responding to questions about recent Chinese military activity over Taiwan’s airspace said that Taiwan’s independence “means war” reaffirming the Chinese Communist Party’s ambition to annex the island to its territory, Fox News reported.

On Sunday, Jan. 25, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) sent dozens of fighters and bombers to fly over Taiwan’s airspace in an attempt to intimidate the island and also test the U.S. response under its new administration.

According to Reuters, the CCP defended its actions by saying that Taiwan’s government is seeking a formal declaration of independence, although Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen has repeatedly said that it is already an independent country called the Republic of China.

“The military activities carried out by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army in the Taiwan Strait are necessary actions to address the current security situation in the Taiwan Strait and to safeguard national sovereignty and security,” Wu said.

Taiwan responded by sending fighter jets, issuing radio warnings and “deploying air defense missile systems to monitor the activity.”

The CCP repeatedly declared its ambition to unify the island back to Chinese territory, but has met stiff resistance from the international community.

Especially during the Trump administration, old military alliances such as ANZUS (Australia, New Zealand, and the United States) as well as newer alliances (Japan, South Korea, and India) have reaffirmed their opposition to the growing Chinese threat.

The CCP also claims sovereignty over much of the South China Sea in international waters that are the territories of other Southeast Asian countries.

US remains Taiwan’s ally

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price responded the same day through a press release, affirming the U.S. stance against the CCP’s bellicose attitude.

“We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure against Taiwan and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan’s democratically elected representatives,” the press release said.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told a confirmation hearing Tuesday that there is “no doubt” that the CCP poses the greatest threat of any nation to the United States and that the Trump administration was right to take a tougher stance against the Asian power.

Australia calls for restraint and peace

Australia’s Defense Minister Linda Reynolds also issued a statement on Monday following the Chinese military incursion and said, “The Australian government continues to watch very carefully what is happening in the Taiwan Strait. We would say to all parties to settle their disputes peacefully and to do it in accordance with international law. And to take into consideration the wishes of people on both sides of the strait.”

Taiwan seceded from China during the 1949 civil war between the Koumintang, the ruling Nationalist party, and the Chinese Communist Party, which took advantage of the national army’s casualties after the war against Japanese invaders.

Many Chinese crossed the strait to seek refuge and escape communism and established an anti-communist nation.

Since then, unlike mainland China, the island has retained much of the traditional Chinese culture and has prospered remarkably.