The Chinese air force sent a fleet of aircraft close to Taiwan for the second time this week in the latest sign of military intimidation against the separately ruled island.
Eleven People’s Liberation Army planes flew into Taiwan’s southwest air defense identification zone Friday, according to a statement from Taipei’s Ministry of National Defense. The fleet included J-10 and J-16 fighter jets, electronic warfare and anti-submarine planes. Taiwan’s air force responded by sending patrol aircraft to the area and monitoring the Chinese planes with its air defense missile systems.
Flights by small numbers of Chinese planes around Taiwan have become an almost daily occurrence over the past year, but Friday’s incident was the second significant incursion this week. On Wednesday, 15 PLA aircraft entered Taiwan’s ADIZ on the same day the USS John S. McCain destroyer sailed through the Taiwan Strait.
Military action has steadily escalated in the seas and skies around Taiwan in recent months as the U.S. pushes back against Chinese attempts to intimidate the government in Taipei. The Chinese Communist Party views Taiwan as a part of its territory despite never having had control over the island. Taiwan’s government rejects China’s claim, asserting the island is already a de facto sovereign nation.
U.S. President Joe Biden has so far largely continued the Trump administration’s robust support for Taiwan. The State Department on Friday eased restrictions governing official contacts with Taiwan in an effort to counter increasing encroachment by China on the island’s sovereignty.
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