Taiwan on red alert as 42 Chinese jets and eight ships cross strait

Taiwan says it has detected 42 Chinese aircraft near its borders, as Beijing appears to be ramping up the pressure on Taipei.

The Chineses fighter jets included Shenyang J-10, J-11, and J-16s.

29 of the planes crossed the median line of the Taiwan Starit, entering the country’s southwest Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ).

Taiwan’s military officials also said eight Chineses warships were spotted near its territorial waters.

The line is an unofficial dividing line between Chinese and Taiwanese territory.

The jets and naval vessels are taking part in three days of military drills, which are supposed to be a dry rehearsal of the encirclement of the island state.

The exercises began hours after Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen returned from a trip to the US.

Beijing, which refuses to recognise Taiwan as a sovereign state, called the drills a “stern warning” to the island’s government.

Chinese state media said the military drills would “simultaneously organise patrols and advances around Taiwan island, shaping an all-round encirclement and deterrence posture”.

It added that “long-range rocket artillery, naval destroyers, missile boats, air force fighters, bombers, jammers and refuellers” had all been deployed by China’s military.

China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province that will eventually return to the fold, much like Hong Kong did.

President Xi Jinping has made the reunification one of his top foreign policy goals and has threatened to use force if necessary.

He has gone on public record as saying “reunification” with Taiwan “must be fulfilled”.

President Tsai Ing-wen’s visit to America last week was seen as a deliberate provocation by Beijing.

While in Washington, she held talks with the US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

On Saturday, she received a US congressional delegation in Taipei led by House foreign affairs committee chairman Michael McCaul.

She told reporters that her government would continue working with the US and other democracies as the island faces “continued authoritarian expansionism” from China.

China’s three-day operation around Taiwan – dubbed “United Sharp Sword” – will run until Monday, the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) Eastern Theatre Command said.


Taiwan’s defence ministry said it would respond to China’s exercises “with a calm, rational, and serious attitude” based on the principle of “not escalating conflicts, nor causing disputes to defend our national sovereignty and security”.

Residents on the island appeared calm and unconcerned about China’s threatening moves.

Jim Tsai told the BBC: “I think many Taiwanese have gotten used to it by now, the feeling is like, here we go again!”

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