Taiwan detects 32 Chinese military aircraft around island in 24 hrs

Taiwan’s defence ministry said Thursday that 32 Chinese military aircraft were detected around the island in a 24-hour window — the second-highest number this year.

In the 24 hours leading up to 6:00 am Thursday (2200 GMT Wednesday), the Ministry of National Defence also detected five naval ships operating around Taiwan, it said.

Twenty of the aircraft “crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait”, it added in a statement.

Taiwan’s armed forces have “monitored the situation and employed (patrol) aircraft, Navy vessels, and coastal missile systems in response to the detected activities”.

In two other 24-hour periods in late January and early February, the ministry detected 33 Chinese warplanes around the island, the highest number this year.

Those detections followed the January 13 presidential election won by current Vice President Lai Ching-te, whom Beijing dislikes.

Lai and vice president-elect Hsiao Bi-khim of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will take office on May 20.

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office on Tuesday slammed Hsiao over her visit to the Czech Republic, saying it served “the purpose of Taiwan independence… and is unhelpful for peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.”

Last month, Taiwan said 11 Chinese naval vessels were detected around Taiwan, the most this year, as a row between Taipei and Beijing over a fatal fishing boat incident dragged on.

A Chinese speedboat carrying four people capsized on February 14 near Taiwan’s Kinmen islands while being pursued by the Taiwanese coast guard, killing two people while the other two survived.

The incident occurred against a backdrop of growing tensions between China and Taiwan, a self-ruled island that Beijing claims as part of its territory to be seized one day, by force if necessary.

Beijing has accused Taiwanese authorities of “seeking to evade their responsibilities and hide the truth” about the incident, while a Taiwanese coast guard official has said the boat involved was zigzagging and “lost its balance” before capsizing.

China has said it will step up patrols around Kinmen following a series of deadly incidents, including the sinking of another boat in the area this month that resulted in the deaths of two crew members.

Taiwan detected a record eight Chinese balloons on two consecutive days during the Lunar New Year holiday last month, with some flying directly over the island.

Beijing has ramped up military pressure in recent years, and deploys warplanes and naval vessels around the island on a near-daily basis, with balloons also increasingly flying over the island.

Source: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/32-chinese-warplanes-detected-around-taiwan-taipei/articleshow/108664985.cms