Taiwan detected 26 Chinese planes around the island

Taiwan detected 26 Chinese planes around the island
Taiwan detected 26 Chinese planes around the island

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry announced Friday that it had detected 26 Chinese planes and five ships around the island in the past 24 hours.

These outings took place a few weeks before the inauguration, on May 20, of the new president of Taiwan, Lai Ching-te, whom China considers to be a dangerous separatist.

Seventeen aircraft ‘crossed the median line (of the Taiwan Strait) and entered (…) Taiwan’s air defense identification zone,’ said a ministry statement.

The median line bisects the Taiwan Strait, a narrow 180-kilometer sea lane separating the self-ruled island from mainland China.

Beijing, which does not recognize this line, claims Taiwan as part of its territory and has never renounced the use of force to regain control.

Under President Tsai Ing-wen, elected in 2016, relations between Beijing and Taipei have become strained as she and her government reject China’s claims to the island.

The new president-elect, Lai Ching-te, like Tsai Ing-wen from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), won the January presidential elections despite warnings from Beijing that it would bring ‘war and decline’ from the island.

These flights come the day after Manila summoned a senior Chinese representative to protest following a skirmish that damaged two Philippine ships during a patrol in the South China Sea.

According to the Philippine Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Chinese coast guard fired water cannons on two of its ships on April 30, blocking access to a disputed reef in the South China Sea. Beijing, for its part, confirmed that it had ‘repulsed’ the Philippine boats.

China claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea – an important crossroads of maritime trade routes -, to the dismay of several riparian countries.

This dispute comes at a time when the United States and the Philippines are organizing joint military exercises, particularly near disputed areas in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait.

In particular, they are planning a simulation of the recapture of an island by force in the province of Palawan, close to the Spratly Islands disputed by Beijing and Manila.

/ATS

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