On Thursday a United States Air Force plane briefly touched down an Taipei's international airport, enraging China over what it perceives as another severe violation of the 'One China' policy, also coming a month after a group of US Senators visited Taiwan in a large military cargo plane.
The US initially didn't explain why the short stop happened, which was described in local media reports as "unannounced". It prompted a statement out of Beijing saying "Any foreign military planes landing in Taiwan need China’s approval," according to Bloomberg citing a defense ministry official statement.
The Chinese statement reiterated prior warnings that the United States must "not play with fire" and to "immediately stop its risky and provocative actions." The defense ministry statement also vowed to destroy any "attempts" toward "Taiwan "independence".
The scant details of Thursday's incident were reported in regional media as follows:
A U.S. Air Force aircraft made a brief, unannounced stop at an airport in central Taipei, Taiwan media reported Thursday, swiftly triggering a backlash from Beijing.
...Radio Taiwan International reported Thursday that government officials of Taiwan and the United States have declined to comment on the reason for the U.S. military plane’s landing at Songshan Airport in Taipei earlier in the day.
It was later revealed to be a small aircraft, reported in Chinese state-run Global Times as "A US C-146A Wolfhound" which "landed at Taipei Songshan Airport on Thursday morning and took off after 34 minutes."
China's Defense Ministry issued a strong statement on Thursday after a U.S. Air Force plane left Okinawa and delivered "diplomatic mail" to Taipei. https://t.co/e5Rx8GwtLr— Newsweek (@Newsweek) July 15, 2021
And the South China Morning Post later confirmed it was related to US diplomatic personnel changing stations. "The United States has sent a military plane to Taipei on an apparent courier mission to aid the changeover of personnel, a fresh sign of a deepening relationship with the self-ruled island despite a warning from Beijing, which claims sovereignty of Taiwan," SCMP reported.
"The American stopover on Thursday came as the former US de facto ambassador Brent Christensen finished a three-year term and left the island," the report said. Regardless of the reason, Beijing denounced the stop, saying "Taiwan is an inalienable part of China, and any foreign military aircraft landing on Chinese territory must obtain the permission of the Chinese government," according to defense ministry spokesperson Wu Qian.
"We warned the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities not to misjudge the situation, provoke secessionism by allying with external forces, which will only lead Taiwan into a dangerous situation, Wu said, noting the PLA will stay on high alert, take any necessary measure to crush Taiwan secessionists' conspiracies," the Chinese government statement said.