Taiwan says 25 Chinese planes, 3 ships sent to island

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — China sent 25 warplanes and three warships to Taiwan on Wednesday morning, the island’s defense ministry said, as tensions between Beijing and Taipei’s main backer Washington remain high.

The ministry said 19 of those planes entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone while the ships continued to operate in the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan has responded by deploying fighter jets, dispatching ships and activating coastal missile defense systems to “closely monitor and respond.”

China stages such assaults on an almost daily basis, part of so-called “grey area” tactics aimed at intimidating and wearing down Taiwan’s equipment, exhausting its personnel, and humiliating public morale. This also includes cyberwarfare and disinformation campaigns, along with a relentless attempt to deprive Taiwan of diplomatic allies.

Taiwan has responded by upgrading its fleet of F-16 fighter jets and ordering 66 more planes from the US, while buying a range of other weapons and extending mandatory conscription for all men from four months to a year.

Relations between Beijing and Washington, Taiwan’s key ally and source of defense weapons, have soured over China’s actions on the island, trade, technology and the South China Sea.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken canceled a visit to Beijing last month after the US shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the US east coast, sparking angry protests from China.

China claims Taiwan as its own territory if necessary, to bring it under his control by force, and has rapidly expanded its military to meet that challenge should it arise.

In memos and testimonies, senior US officials have called for increased preparations, stating that China sees a shrinking window of opportunity for action and may move towards Taiwan within a few years.

China says it prefers peaceful unification between the sides, but the Taiwanese public overwhelmingly supports the current state of de facto independence.

Wednesday’s incursions were relatively modest by recent standards. During the Chinese National Day in 2021, Beijing deployed 149 military planes in formations of strike groups southwest of Taiwan. In August, in response to a trip by then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, China staged war games around the island to simulate a blockade and fired missiles over it into the Pacific Ocean.

In addition to ordering new hardware from the US, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen is pushing for a revival of the domestic defense industry, including the production of conventionally powered submarines.

https://news.yahoo.com/taiwan-says-25-chinese-planes-070446484.html Taiwan says 25 Chinese planes, 3 ships sent to island


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