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Taiwan reports over 100 Chinese warplanes near island

September 18, 2023

The island's defense ministry said the number of Chinese military aircraft was a "recent high."

Taiwanese military monitors Chinese military movement in August
Taiwan's defense ministry said 103 warplanes had been sent towards the island over a 24-hour periodImage: ROC/Zumapress/picture alliance

The defense ministry in Taiwan on Monday called on China to halt "destructive, unilateral action" after reporting that 103 warplanes had been sent towards the island over a 24-hour period.

According to the ministry, the planes were detected from 6 a.m. Sunday and 6 a.m. Monday, heading towards Taiwan and then turning back before reaching the island.

Forty of the Chinese aircraft were reported to have crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait between mainland China and the island.

China considers Taiwan part of its own territory and has regularly carried out military drills around the self-ruled island. It has not discounted using force to take control of the territory.

Last week China sent naval vessels including the aircraft carrier Shandong into waters near Taiwan. The drills came shortly after the US and Canada sailed warships through the Taiwan Strait.

The US is the largest supplier of arms to Taiwan and opposes any attempt to change Taiwan's status by force.

The ministry called China's actions "harassment" and warned it could escalate under the current tense circumstances. "We urge the Beijing authorities to bear responsibility and immediately stop such kind of destructive military activities," it said in a statement.

China's defence ministry has not provided any immediate response.

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kb/rc (AP, Reuters)