China sends 47 planes across Taiwan Strait, conducts military drills near Japan

Taipei, Taiwan

China on Sunday sent 47 planes across the midline of the Taiwan Strait, its biggest foray into Taiwan’s air defense zone in recent months, as Beijing steps up efforts to normalize aggressive military operations around the island. autonomous.

The incursions were carried out by 42 J-10, J-11, J-16 and Su-30 fighter jets, two Y-8 maritime patrol aircraft, one KJ-500 early warning aircraft, as well as a CH -4 and a WZ. -7 military drone, according to the Taiwanese Ministry of Defense.

He said a total of 71 Chinese planes were spotted around the island and the Taiwanese military responded by loading combat air patrol planes, navy ships and land-based missile systems.

The flights, which are part of a so-called “strike exercise” according to the Chinese military, follow naval drills by a Chinese carrier group in the Western Pacific near Japan on Friday.

China’s ruling Communist Party considers Taiwan – a democratically governed island of 24 million – to be part of its territory, although it has never controlled it. He has long vowed to “reunify” the island with the Chinese mainland, by force if necessary.

Tensions around Taiwan have increased markedly this year. A visit to the island by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi in August sparked Communist Party fury and an immediate wave of military exercises.

Since then, Beijing has stepped up its aggressive military pressure tactics on the island, sending fighter jets across the center line of the Taiwan Strait, the body of water separating Taiwan and China and into the identification zone of Island air defense – a buffer of airspace commonly referred to as ADIZ.

For decades, the median line served as an informal dividing line between the two, with military incursions across it being rare.

The most recent activities came as the Chinese military’s Eastern Theater Command said on Sunday it had conducted joint combat readiness patrols and “strike drills” around Taiwan, in response to ” provocations” between Taiwan and the United States, without providing specific details.

“The troops will take all necessary measures to resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the Eastern Theater Command said.

On Friday, US President Joe Biden signed a sweeping new defense bill into law that included setting up a defense modernization program for Taiwan to deter Chinese aggression.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry responded in a statement late Sunday that it was confident in defending its sovereignty. “The Chinese Communist Party’s actions have exposed its mentality of using force to resolve disputes, which undermines regional peace and stability,” he said.

“Cooperation between Taiwan and the United States will help safeguard a free, open and stable Indo-Pacific region. The military will continue to strengthen military readiness based on enemy threats and self-defense needs,” he added.

In November, Biden met Chinese leader Xi Jinping in person for the first time during his presidency at the G20 summit in Indonesia. Afterwards, Biden described the three-hour meeting as “open and frank” and cast doubt on an impending invasion of Taiwan.

Formal bilateral talks on climate cooperation are expected to resume as well as part of a broader package of agreements between Biden and Xi – with China previously breaking off talks in retaliation for Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

Last Friday, China also conducted a series of military exercises near Japan’s southern island of Okinawa in the Pacific Ocean, according to Japanese authorities.

The Chinese Navy’s Liaoning aircraft carrier, along with two destroyers and a frigate, sailed about 560 kilometers (about 348 miles) east of Kitadaito Island, located off the east coast of Okinawa , on December 21, according to the Japanese Joint Chiefs of Staff. The ships also sailed about 120 kilometers (74 miles) east of Okinotorishima, located further southeast, on December 22.

Then on Friday, about 180 carrier-based fighter jets and helicopters took off and landed on the Liaoning aircraft carrier, according to Japan’s Defense Ministry.

Japan’s Ministry of Defense and Self-Defense Forces responded by sending two escort ships to gather information and carry out alerts and surveillance, the ministry said.

Tensions between China and Japan have also risen steadily, with Beijing expanding its naval and air forces in areas near Japan. China also claims the Senkaku Islands, an uninhabited chain under Japanese control in the East China Sea.

Chinese ships have made frequent incursions near the islands, which they call the Diaoyus, while Japan scrambles warplanes almost daily in response to Chinese planes approaching its airspace.

Earlier this month, Japan unveiled a new national security plan that signals the country’s biggest military buildup since World War II, doubling defense spending and departing from its pacifist constitution in the face of growing threats from China, North Korea and Russia.


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