China deploys 71 warplanes, seven ships toward Taiwan in 24 hours

China sends 71 warplanes, 7 ships toward Taiwan in 24 hours. AP

Taipei: China deployed 71 warplanes and seven ships toward Taiwan in a 24-hour display of force directed at the island, Taiwan’s defense ministry said on Monday.

In response to unspecified “provocations” and “collusion” between the United States and the self-ruled island, The People’s Liberation Army said it had conducted a “strike drill” on Sunday.

These drills were among the largest since the Taiwanese defence ministry began releasing daily tallies, according to data.

Between 6 a.m. Sunday and 6 a.m. Monday, 47 of the Chinese planes crossed the median of the Taiwan Strait, an unofficial boundary once tacitly accepted by both sides, news agency AP mentioned Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense as saying.

China launched 18 J-16 fighter jets, 11 J-1 fighters, 6 Su-30 fighters, and drones towards Taiwan.

Taiwan claimed that it monitored on Chinese movements using its own navy vessels and land-based missile systems.

Beijing has ramped up military, diplomatic and economic pressure on Taiwan under President Xi Jinping as relations have deteriorated.

Taiwan lives under the threat of Chinese invasion as China considers the self-ruled democratic island to be a part of its territory and wants to capture it.

Taiwan’s air defence identification zone is much larger than its airspace. It overlaps part of China’s ADIZ and even includes some of the mainland.

The prospect of a Chinese invasion has increasingly rattled both Western nations and many of China’s neighbours.

Xi, China’s most authoritarian leader in decades, has made clear what he calls the “reunification” of Taiwan cannot be passed on to future generations.

The United States has stepped up support for Taiwan including a bill this month that authorised $10 billion in military aid, to which Beijing expressed “strong opposition”.

China’s military has often used large military exercises as a demonstration of force in response to US government actions in support of Taiwan. It conducted large live-fire military exercises in August in response to US House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

Military flights into the air defence identification zones are seen as a way to both wear down Taiwan’s ageing fleet of fighters as well as probe its defensive responses.

There has also been an increase in sorties by China’s nuclear-capable H-6 bombers.

China this month sent a record 18 H-6 bombers into the southwestern ADIZ in the largest daily incursion to date.

With inputs from agencies

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