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Chinese planes 'increasingly provocative' to Taiwan

May 15, 2024

The record number of Chinese daily sorties near Taiwan this year comes ahead of President-elect Lai Ching-te's inauguration on May 20.

The Taiwanese coast guard monitoring a Chinese vessel on May 14, 2024
Taiwan regularly reports incursions by Chinese forcesImage: TAIWAN COAST GUARD/AFP

Taiwan reported 45 Chinese warplanes in its airspace within 24 hours, according to its defense ministry on Wednesday.

The record number of Chinese daily sorties this year comes ahead of President-elect Lai Ching-te's inauguration on May 20.

'China being more and more provocative'

The ministry said that "26 of the aircraft crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait," referring to a line bisecting the 180-kilometer (110-mile) waterway separating Taiwan and China. Beijing does not recognize this unofficial boundary.

Six Chinese Navy vessels were also detected, according to the statement.

Taipei emphasized it was monitoring the situation closely and urged Beijing to exercise self-restraint.

"Since late April they have become more and more provocative," the senior Taiwanese security official said.

Beijing calls Taiwan President-elect a 'dangerous separatist'

China has intensified its military presence near Taiwan, simulating mock attack drills on foreign vessels as Taipei prepares to inaugurate its new president, Lai Ching-te, on May 20.

On May 11-12, about 10 Chinese vessels, including frigates and coast guard boats, were seen near Taiwan, with some approaching Taiwan's contiguous zone, government reports said.

Lai, who won the January election, is seen by Beijing as a "dangerous separatist," heightening tensions. He served as vice president for the past four years and is set to succeed President Tsai Ing-wen.

On Tuesday, Lai again extended an offer for talks with Beijing, pledging to maintain peace across the strait. Beijing had rejected his earlier offers for dialogue.

Beijing claims democratic Taiwan as part of its territory. Lai, like outgoing President Tsai, rejects China's claim over Taiwan.

Tensions rise with China over US aid bill for Taiwan

ss/rc (Reuters, EFE)