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Sunday, July 14th, 2024

China deploys aircraft carrier in Philippine Sea, 66 Chinese aircraft seen hovering around Taiwan

Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) said on Thursday it had detected 66 Chinese military aircraft and ships around the island, apparently heading for Chinese military exercises in the western Pacific.

The media outlet embedded a statement from Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense on its X platform.

“As of 6 a.m. today (2200 GMT Wednesday), 66 PLA aircraft and seven PLAN ships were detected around Taiwan,” the statement said.

It said 56 aircraft crossed the sensitive median line dividing the Taiwan Strait – a narrow 180-kilometer (110-mile) waterway that separates the island from China.

Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said they were heading to the western Pacific to take part in joint air and maritime military exercises with the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong.

The ministry said it was “monitoring the situation and taking action accordingly”. Taiwan’s Defence Ministry also released an image showing some of the aircraft had come within 33 nautical miles (61 km) of Taiwan’s southern tip.

On July 10, the ministry said 36 Chinese military aircraft crossed the midline of the Taiwan Strait and were heading to the western Pacific to participate in joint air and maritime military exercises with the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong.

Earlier in May this year, Beijing sent 62 military aircraft and 27 naval ships around Taiwan amid military drills launched following the swearing-in of Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te.

Focus Taiwan quoted Taiwan’s Defense Minister Wellington Koo as saying that “the MND was ‘fully aware’ of Shandong’s activities.”

Meanwhile, the Philippines on Wednesday expressed concern over China’s deployment of a “carrier strike group” in the Philippine Sea.

According to reports the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong, accompanied by a guided missile destroyer and a frigate, were spotted about 323 miles off the Miyako Islands, state news agency PNA said.

According to the report, the Chinese aircraft carrier was seen conducting flight deck operations with its jet fighters and helicopters.

“We emphasize the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the region and urge all parties to abide by international laws and norms, especially the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),” Philippines Armed Forces spokesperson Colonel Francelle Margareth Padilla said in a statement to the media.

On July 9, Japan’s Defense Ministry announced that fighter jets from the country’s Air Self-Defense Force were dispatched in response to a Chinese TB-001 unmanned reconnaissance and attack aircraft that intruded into Japan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) over the East China Sea.

This is the sixth time since the beginning of this year that the ministry has announced the activities of Chinese unmanned military aircraft, Japan News reported.

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