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Taiwan detects 28 Chinese aircraft around island

Taiwan detects 28 Chinese aircraft around island
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Taiwan’s defence ministry said Wednesday it had detected 28 Chinese aircraft around the self-ruled island in a window of less than three hours.

Wednesday’s sorties come about a week after China encircled Taiwan with warplanes and navy vessels during military drills it said was a test of its ability to seize control of the island, which Beijing claims as part of its territory.

“Since 3:20 pm (0720 GMT), we have successively detected a total of 28 aircraft… including 18 that crossed the median line,” the defence ministry said, referring to a line bisecting the Taiwan Strait that separates the island from China.

The ministry statement, issued at 5:50 pm, said that the aircraft — which included fighter jets, transport aircraft and drones — had coordinated with Chinese warships.

The ministry added that it was “closely monitoring the situation”.

Beijing kicked off the military drills last week, three days after Taiwan’s new President Lai Ching-te was sworn into office.

Lai, who China has called a “saboteur of peace and stability”, had vowed in his inaugural speech to defend the island’s sovereignty.

The two-day “Joint Sword-2024A” drills were a “punishment” for his “confession of Taiwan independence”, Beijing said.

China has said it would never renounce the use of force to take control of Taiwan, and maintains a near-daily military presence around the island.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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