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Taiwan detected 22 Chinese planes around the island

Photo: Ministry of Defense of Japan via Agence France-Presse A Chinese plane takes off in the Pacific Ocean at the beginning of April.

France Media Agency to Taipei

Posted at 9:12 a.m.

  • Asia

Taiwan's Defense Ministry said Saturday it had detected 22 Chinese planes around the island in less than three hours.

“We have detected activities of 22 PLA [Chinese military] aircraft […] since 9:30 a.m.,” the ministry said in a statement issued at 12:10 p.m. local time on Saturday.

< p>“Twelve aircraft crossed the median line and entered the air defense identification zone of northern and central Taiwan,” it added, specifying that the warplanes and drones had joined the ships of the Chinese navy as part of a “joint combat patrol”.

These sorties come less than a month before the May 20 inauguration of new Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te, whom China considers a dangerous separatist.

The median line bisects the Taiwan Strait, a narrow 180-kilometer sea lane separating the island from mainland China.

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Beijing, which does not recognize this line, claims Taiwan as part of its territory and has never renounced the use of force to place the island under its control.

Under the administration of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, tensions between Beijing and Taipei have increased, as she and her government reject any Chinese claims on the island.

< p>His deputy, Vice President Lai, won the January presidential elections despite warnings from Beijing that he would provoke Taiwan's “war and decline.”

< p>Saturday's show of military power comes as the United States and the Philippines conduct joint military exercises, including near potential hotspots in the South China Sea and the island of Taiwan.

The joint exercises include a simulated recapture of enemy-occupied islands in areas facing Taiwan.

Beijing claims the South China Sea in its quasi- totality, despite an international ruling according to which this claim has no legal basis.

Recent clashes between Chinese and Philippine ships have revived fears of a broader conflict. China's Foreign Ministry accused the United States of “stoking military confrontation.”

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116