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China sends dozens of warplanes towards Taiwan

July 22, 2023

The Chinese fleet of warplanes marked a forceful display just as Taiwan prepares to conduct an anti-invasion military exercise.

A Chinese military jet flies close to Taiwan
China sends dozens of warplanes towards Taiwan Image: HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP

China sent dozens of warplanes towards Taiwan, said the island's defense ministry on Saturday.

The Chinese military planes entered Taiwan's air defense identification zone days before Taiwan is set to conduct anti-invasion military exercises.

The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) sent a forceful flight of 37 aircrafts and seven navy vessels between Friday and Saturday, the Taiwanese defense ministry said in a statement.

Among these were J-10 and J-16 fighter jets as well as H-6 bombers.

Is Taiwan living on borrowed time?

The Taiwan defense ministry detected that 22 of these warplanes had entered the island's air defense identification zone and had crossed the midline of the Taiwan Strait which is an unofficial boundary between China and Taiwan.

Taiwan is due to hold the annual Han Kuang exercise next week, during which the country will conduct military exercises aimed at defending itself against a possible invasion.

A deepening divide

Deep divisions between China and Taiwan date back to the civil war in 1949 which ended with the ruling Communist Party taking control of the mainland.

Beijing regards Taiwan as part of mainland territory.

In recent years, China has shown its displeasure at several political activities in Taiwan by sending military planes towards the island.

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen speaking to US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy
China expressed deep displeasure when Taiwan's President met US House Speaker. Image: Frederic J. Brown/AFP

Beijing stepped up its efforts to isolate Taiwan after former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August 2022.

In April, in response to a meeting between Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen and US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, the PLA held large-scale military drills around the island's sea and air.

ns/jcg (AP, Reuters)