Taiwan says 10 Chinese aircraft crossed Taiwan Strait median line

By Reuters   March 31, 2023 | 06:53 pm PT
Taiwan says 10 Chinese aircraft crossed Taiwan Strait median line
An H-6 bomber of Chinese PLA Air Force flies near a Taiwan F-16 in this February 10, 2020 handout photo provided by Taiwan Ministry of National Defense. Photo handout via Reuters
Ten Chinese aircraft crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait, normally an unofficial barrier between the two sides, Taiwan's defense ministry said on Saturday, as Beijing continues its military activities near the island.

Nine Chinese fighter jets and one military drone crossed the median line in the 24 hours to 6 a.m. on Saturday (2000 GMT on Friday), the ministry said in its daily report on Chinese military activities.

Taiwan sent aircraft to warn away the Chinese aircraft, while missile systems monitored them, the ministry said, using standard wording for its response.

Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory despite the island's objections, has complained in recent years of almost daily missions by the Chinese air force near the democratically governed island, often in the southwestern part of its air defense identification zone.

Beijing has threatened unspecified retaliation if Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen, now traveling in the Americas, should meet U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy. She is expected to meet him in Los Angeles on her way back to Taipei this month from Central America.

China staged war games around Taiwan in August after then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei, and has continued military activities near Taiwan, though on a reduced scale.

A senior Taiwan official familiar with the island's security planning told Reuters this week China was unlikely to repeat such large exercises, but all preparations were made in case China reacts "irrationally".

Separately, nine Chinese aircraft crossed the median line on Friday carrying out combat readiness patrols, a move that Taiwan's defense ministry said has "deliberately created tension" and undermined peace and stability.

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