China has sent dozens of fighter jets, including fighter jets and bombers, towards Taiwan, marking a show of force.
Taipei, Taiwan — China has dispatched dozens of warplanes, including fighter jets and bombers, to Taiwan, the island’s defense ministry said on Saturday, marking a dramatic display of fanfare days before the democracy plans to hold military exercises to defend itself against a possible invasion.
Taiwan will hold the annual Han Kuang exercise next week, in which its military will hold combat readiness exercises to thwart an invasion. It will also conduct annual Wan’an exercises to prepare civilians for natural disasters and practice evacuation in the event of an air strike.
The ministry said in a statement, the People’s Liberation Army sent 37 aircraft and seven naval ships around Taiwan from 6 a.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday. Among them were J-10 and J-16 fighters and H-6 bombers, and 22 of the fighters were found to have crossed the midline of the Taiwan Strait – an unofficial boundary that is considered a buffer zone between the island and the mainland – or entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone near its southern part, the statement said.
Taiwan and China split in 1949 after a civil war ended with the ruling Communist Party taking control of the mainland. The island has never been part of the People’s Republic of China, but Beijing says the island must be unified with the mainland.
In recent years, China has shown its displeasure with political activities in Taiwan by increasing the number of military aircraft sent to the island.
China held major military exercises in response to former US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August. It fired missiles over the island in a significant escalation that disrupted trade routes in the Taiwan Strait and forced planes to reroute flights.
In April, the PLA also held large-scale combat readiness exercises in the air and sea around the island in response to Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s meeting with current US House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy.