45 Chinese Aircraft Detected Around Taiwan: Defence Ministry

Wed May 15 2024
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TAIPEI, Taiwan: Forty-five Chinese planes have been detected in the vicinity of Taiwan, Taipei’s defence ministry said on Wednesday, less than a week before the self-ruled island is set to inaugurate a new president on May 20.

This is the highest number of Chinese aircraft detected in the vicinity of Taiwan – which Beijing claims as part of China – in a single 24-hour period this year.

Beijing considers incoming President Lai Ching-te as a “dangerous separatist” and tensions between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait have been high since he won a vote in January.

On Wednesday, Taipei’s Defence Ministry said 45 Chinese aircraft and six naval vessels had operated around Taiwan in the 24 hours to 6:00 a.m. (2200 GMT).

“26 aircraft crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait,” the ministry said in a statement, referring to the line crossing the 180-kilometer (110-mile) waterway that separates Taiwan from China.

The ministry added that it was “monitoring the situation and responding accordingly”.

On Tuesday evening, the ministry said 23 Chinese aircraft – including fighter jets and drones – had been detected over two hours around Taiwan.

China has said it will never give up using force to bring Taiwan under Beijing’s control.

It has increased military pressure on the island in recent years, sending warplanes and naval vessels almost daily in what experts say are “gray zone tactics” that stop short of an outright act of war.

Lai, like outgoing President Tsai Ing-wen, rejects Beijing’s claim to Taiwan.

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