The Chinese military has sent 71 planes and seven ships toward Taiwan, according to the Taiwanese defense ministry, marking the largest daily incursion yet.
47 of the Chinese planes crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait, an unofficial boundary once tacitly accepted by both sides, during the 24-hour display of force.
Among the Chinese planes were 18 J-16 fighter jets, 11 J-1 fighters, six Su-30 fighters, and drones. China claims Taiwan as its territory and said it conducted “joint combat readiness patrols and joint firepower strike drills” in the sea and airspace around the island in response to “current US-Taiwan escalation and provocation.”
However, it did not specify the nature of the alleged provocations. The Chinese foreign ministry has warned that it “deplores and firmly opposes” defence cooperation between the US and Taiwan and that the recently approved US defence spending bill “severely affects peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”
The bill authorizes increased security cooperation with Taiwan and requires expanded cooperation with India on emerging defence technologies, readiness, and logistics.
Taiwan, an island of 23 million people off the east coast of China, split from the mainland during the civil war that brought the Communist Party to power in Beijing in 1949.