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Taiwan detects 18 Chinese aircraft, 4 ships near island

Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense on Saturday confirmed the detection of a significant presence of Chinese military aircraft and ships near Taiwan.

According to the ministry’s statement, as of 6 a.m. local time (UTC+8) that day, 18 Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft and four People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) ships were detected around Taiwan.

Of the detected aircraft, 12 were reported to have crossed the median line and entered Taiwan’s northern and southwestern air defense identification zone (ADIZ). The development marks a worrying escalation in tensions between Taiwan and China, which has long claimed sovereignty over the island.

The Taiwan Armed Forces (ROCArmedForces) immediately responded to the situation, closely monitored the Chinese military’s activities and took appropriate measures in response.

“As of 6am today (UTC+8), 18 PLA aircraft and 4 PLAN ships were detected operating in the vicinity of Taiwan. 12 aircraft crossed the median line and entered Taiwan’s N and SW ADIZ. #ROCArmedForces have monitored the situation and responded accordingly,” Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said on Saturday.

The growing presence of Chinese military assets near Taiwan underscores ongoing geopolitical tensions in the region. Taiwan has often expressed concerns about China’s military activities and its ambitions to reunite Taiwan with the mainland by force if necessary.

The latest incident comes amid intense scrutiny of China’s military maneuvers in the Indo-Pacific region, with many countries expressing concern over Beijing’s assertive behavior. In particular, the United States has reiterated its commitment to Taiwan’s security and has conducted regular arms sales and military exercises with the island nation.

The MND has issued daily reports on Chinese military activities for the past few years, including identifying Chinese aircraft, drones and balloons that have been detected crossing the Taiwan Strait midline and approaching Taiwan.

The midline of the Taiwan Strait served as a silent border between China and Taiwan for decades, but since former United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August 2022, China’s military has shown greater independence across the Taiwan Strait. Have sent planes, warships and drones.

Since September 2020, China has increased its use of gray zone tactics by increasing the number of military aircraft and naval ships operating around Taiwan.

Gray zone strategy is defined as “a series of efforts or efforts beyond steady-state deterrence and reassurance that attempt to achieve one’s security objectives without resorting to the direct and large use of force.”

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