Taiwan says 25 Chinese planes, three ships have been sent to the island.

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In this undated file photo released by Taiwan's Ministry of Defense, a Chinese PLA J-16 fighter jet flies over an undisclosed location.  (File image used for representation only.)
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In this undated file photo released by Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense, a Chinese PLA J-16 fighter jet flies over an undisclosed location. (File image used for representational purposes only.) | Photo credit: AP

China sent 25 warplanes and three warships to Taiwan on Wednesday (March 1) morning, the island’s defense ministry said, as tensions between Beijing and Taipei’s main backer Washington continued.

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The ministry said 19 of the planes entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone while the ships continued to operate in the Taiwan Strait. It said Taiwan “closely monitored and responded” by encircling the fighters, sending ships and activating a coastal missile defense system.

China renews threat against Taiwan as drills take place on island

China conducts such incursions on a near-daily basis, part of what it calls “gray zone” tactics, aimed at intimidating Taiwan’s equipment, exhausting its personnel and undermining public morale. . Continued campaign to deprive Taiwan of diplomatic allies.

Taiwan has responded by upgrading its fleet of F-16 fighter jets and ordering 66 more from the US, while buying a range of other weapons and extending its mandatory military service period for all men to four months. It has been extended to one year.

Ties between Beijing and Washington, Taiwan’s primary ally and source of defense arms, have grown over China’s actions over the island, trade, technology and the South China Sea.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blanken canceled a trip to Beijing last month after a suspect was shot dead by the US. Chinese spy balloon Off the US East Coast, strong protests from China.

China claims that Taiwan is its own territory if it is brought under its control by force if necessary, and is rapidly building up its military to meet the challenge.

In memos and testimony, top U.S. officials have urged tough preparations, saying China sees a shrinking window for action and could move on Taiwan within a few years. China says it prefers a peaceful union between the parties, but the Taiwanese people overwhelmingly favor the current state of de facto independence.

China sent 39 warplanes, three ships to Taiwan in 24 hours.

Wednesday’s incursion was relatively minor by recent standards. During China’s National Day weekend in 2021, Beijing sent 149 military aircraft to form a strike group southwest of Taiwan. In August, in response to a visit to Taiwan by then US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, China launched war games around the island and fired missiles into the Pacific Ocean.

As well as ordering new hardware from the US, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen is pushing to revive the domestic defense industry, including the production of conventional submarines.

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