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China’s PLA Warplanes and Drones Detected Around Taiwan

Warplanes and Drones

Taiwan’s defense ministry reported on Saturday that it had detected 22 Chinese warplanes and drones operating around the self-ruled island within a window of fewer than three hours. The increased military activity comes as tensions rise ahead of the May 20 inauguration of Taiwan’s new president, Lai Ching-te, who is viewed by China as a pro-independence figure. Here are some details according to the report of The Philippines Star.

“We detected activities from 22 PLA aircraft… since 9:30 am (0130 GMT),” the ministry said in a statement released at 12:10 pm on Saturday. It added that 12 of those aircraft crossed the median line, which separates Taiwan from mainland China, and entered Taiwan’s northern and central air defence identification zone (ADIZ). The report also mentioned that the warplanes and drones joined Chinese naval vessels in “joint combat patrol.”

Chinese Claims and Rising Tensions

The median line divides the Taiwan Strait, a narrow 180-kilometre (110-mile) waterway that separates Taiwan from mainland China. Beijing refuses to recognize the line separating Taiwan, asserting the island is part of its territory despite its independent governance. China has also never renounced the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control.

Under the administration of Taiwan’s outgoing President Tsai Ing-wen, tensions between Beijing and Taipei have heightened, with the current government rejecting China’s claim to the island. President-elect Lai Ching-te’s victory in the January presidential election came despite Chinese warnings that his leadership would lead to “war and decline” for Taiwan.

US-Philippines Joint Military Exercises

The timing of the Chinese military operations coincides with joint military exercises conducted by the United States and the Philippines. These drills simulate retaking enemy-occupied islands, with exercises taking place near the potential flashpoints of the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait.

Beijing claims almost the entire South China Sea, though an international ruling states that such claims have no legal basis. The region has experienced increased incidents of confrontation, with recent clashes between Chinese and Philippine vessels escalating concerns over broader conflict.

China’s foreign ministry accused the United States of “stoking military confrontation.” Beijing’s continuous pressure on Taiwan, along with its increased military presence, underscores the fragile situation in the region. Taiwan’s defense ministry has responded by closely monitoring the activities of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and taking necessary steps to ensure its national security.

Read Also: Taiwan Detects 30 Chinese Military Aircraft Near Island

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