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Taiwan detects Chinese aircraft around island

May 3, 2024

Taiwan's Defense Ministry said on Friday that a number of Chinese military planes crossed the median line in the Taiwan Strait.

Air force and naval aviation corps of the Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) fly planes at an unspecified location in China.
China has significantly increased its military activities around self-ruled Taiwan in the last four yearsImage: Fu Gan/Xinhua/AP/picture alliance

Taiwan detected a renewed incursion by Chinese aircraft around the democratically governed island, Taiwan's Defense Ministry said on Friday, as China reported that its navy had conducted combat exercises with landing craft.

A statement from Taipei said that at least 14 Chinese military aircraft crossed the Taiwan Strait's median line and entered Taiwan's northern and central ADIZ (air defense identification zone).

The sorties come ahead of the May 20 inauguration of President Lai Ching-te in Taiwan.

China views Lai as a dangerous separatist.

What is the median line between China and Taiwan?

The median line is used to serve as an unofficial border between the two sides.

However, China does not recognise the line's existence and Chinese military aircraft now cross it regularly.

The Asian giant has significantly increased its military activities around self-ruled Taiwan in the last four years.

Beijing claims the island as its own territory, a position Taipei rejects.

On Thursday, the Eastern Theater Command of China's People's Liberation Army, which is responsible for the area around Taiwan, shared pictures on its WeChat social media account of vessels carrying out what it called live combat landing drills.

The Command did not say when and where the drills took place but showed images of ship-mounted guns opening fire and operating in formation.

Taipei said on Thursday that Beijing had carried out a "joint combat readiness patrol" near the island for the second time in a week.

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dvv/msh (AFP, Reuters)