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China sends 103 military planes to Taiwan in a new peak of activity that the island calls harassment

China sends 103 military planes to Taiwan in a new peak of activity that the island calls harassment

China has sent 103 military aircraft toward Taiwan, a new daily high for activity the island considers harassment.

The planes were detected between 6 a.m. Sunday and 6 a.m. Monday, the ministry said. As is customary, they turned around before reaching Taiwan. Chinese fighter jets fly toward the autonomous island almost daily, but usually in smaller numbers. Taiwan’s ministry did not explain what period it meant by a “recent” high.

China, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory, has held increasingly large military exercises in the air and in waters around Taiwan as tensions rise between the two and with the United States. The United States is Taiwan’s main arms supplier and opposes any attempt to change Taiwan’s status by force.

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The presidential candidates had no immediate comment Monday on the latest Chinese military activity.

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said 40 of the planes crossed the symbolic median line between mainland China and the island. Among them were more than 30 fighter aircraft, as well as air refueling tankers. Taiwan also reported nine Chinese warships in waters in the area in the previous 24 hours.

The ministry called the Chinese military action “harassment” and warned that it could escalate in the current tense atmosphere. “We urge the Beijing authorities to take responsibility and immediately stop such destructive military activities,” he said in a statement.

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When asked about the reported military activity, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said there is no “middle line” because Taiwan is part of Chinese territory.

Last week, China sent a flotilla of ships, including the aircraft carrier Shandong, to waters near Taiwan. The exercises came shortly after the United States and Canada sailed warships through the Taiwan Strait, the waters that separate the island from the mainland.

Taiwan and China separated in 1949 when the Communists took control of China during a civil war. The losing nationalists fled to Taiwan and established their own government on the island.

Only a few foreign nations grant the island official diplomatic recognition. The United States, among others, has formal ties with China while maintaining a representative office in Taiwan.


Find more information on AP’s Asia-Pacific coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/asia-pacific



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