China carries out fresh round of military exercises near Taiwan after sending 18 warplanes into its air defence zone last week
- Beijing sent yet more planes toward Taiwan over the weekend in latest escalation
- China said it hoped to ‘test and improve the joint combat capability’ of the jets
- Taiwan scrambled its aircraft to ward off a fleet of 18 Chinese jets on Friday
- Bombers, fighters and anti-submarine aircraft were all sent in, Taiwan said
- Taiwan has raised alert since Russian invasion of Ukraine, wary of China copycat
- ‘We have the determination to defend our country’, its foreign minister told MPs
The Chinese army sent aircraft into Taiwan’s air defence zone over the weekend to ‘test and improve their combat capability’, Beijing said.
Taiwan had scrambled aircraft and readied missile defences when 18 Chinese jets violated its air defence identification zone (ADIZ) on Friday.
The People’s Liberation Army manoeuvres were repeated on Saturday and Sunday.
A Chinese Y-20 military transport aircraft performs during an airshow in southern China
Beijing’s Eastern Theatre Command said in a statement that naval and air force assets carried out the drills to ‘further test and improve the joint combat capability of multiple services and arms’.
Although Taiwan responded proactively on Friday, it did not scramble defence systems during Chinese military manoeuvres on Saturday or Sunday.
Living in constant fear of a Chinese invasion, the self-ruled island 100 miles off the mainland raised its alert after Russia entered Ukraine in late February.
Pictured: a Chinese jet takes off from the Liaoning aircraft carrier in the Yellow Sea near Korea
It suspects a copycat invasion by Beijing, which has not condemned Putin’s actions.
Taiwan has complained for the past two years about Chinese military activity around the southern and south-western part of its air defence identification zone (ADIZ).
Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said China deployed bombers, fighters and anti-submarine aircraft.
No shots were fired and the Chinese aircraft had not been flying in Taiwan’s air space.
Its ADIZ is a broader area monitored and patrolled by Taiwan in the hope it will provide more time to respond to military threats.
Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told parliament this morning China continues to pose a threat.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry released a map showing where Chinese aircraft travelled on Friday
‘But we have the determination to defend our country,’ he added.
Japan reported last week that eight Chinese naval vessels including an aircraft carrier passed between its islands in the Okinawa chain near Taiwan.
Taiwan also carried out pre-announced missile and other drills off its southern and southeastern coasts last week.
China has never renounced the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control.
The contested Taiwan Strait remains a potential military flashpoint.
Taiwan’s government rejects China’s sovereignty claims and says only the island’s 23million people can decide their future.
Why China set its sights on Taiwan
Taiwanese soldiers hoist the flag of Taiwan in Taipei on May 10. China considers Taiwan as a part of its territory, but many Taiwanese people want the island to be independent
China and Taiwan have a long-standing dispute over the island’s sovereignty.
China considers Taiwan as a part of its territory, more precisely a province, but many Taiwanese want the island to be independent.
From 1683 to 1895, Taiwan was ruled by China’s Qing dynasty. After Japan claimed its victory in the First Sino-Japanese War, the Qing government forced to cede Taiwan to Japan.
The island was under the Republic of China’s ruling after World War II, with the consent of its allies the US and UK.
The leader of the Chinese Nationalist Party, Chiang Kai-shek, fled to Taiwan in 1949 and established his government after losing the Civil War to the Communist Party and its leader Mao Zedong.
Chiang’s son continued to rule Taiwan after his father and began democratising Taiwan.
In 1980, China put forward a formula called ‘one country, two systems’, under which Taiwan would be given significant autonomy if it accepted Chinese reunification. Taiwan rejected the offer.
Taiwan today, with its own constitution and democratically-elected leaders, is widely accepted in the West as an independent state. But its political status remains unclear.
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