A Taiwanese soldier sits aboard an Oerlikon GDF-006 anti-aircraft gun during a Force Engagement Exercise as part of the combat readiness mission inside an airbase in Hualien, Taiwan, 18 August 2022. EFE-EPA FILE/RITCHIE B. TONGO

Taiwan reports increased Chinese military activity around island

Beijing, Sep 14 (EFE).- Taiwan said Thursday that it had spotted a large number of Chinese planes and warships around the island.

“68 PLA (China’s army) aircraft and 10 PLAN (Chinese navy) vessels around Taiwan were detected by 6 a.m.(UTC+8) today. 40 of the detected aircraft have crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait and entered Taiwan’s southwest or southeast ADIZ (air defense identification zone),” Taiwan’s defense ministry said in a statement.

The country’s “armed forces have monitored the situation and tasked CAP aircraft, Navy vessels, and land-based missile systems to respond these activities,” it added.

Taiwan Strait’s median line is an unofficial boundary that both Taipei and Beijing had largely respected until last year, when Chinese planes began repeatedly crossing it.

Such incursions have become routine in recent months.

On Wednesday, the ministry had announced an incursion by 35 Chinese planes, of which 28 crossed the median line or entered its southwest ADIZ.

It also reported that Chinese aircraft carrier, Shandong, had sailed into the Western Pacific.

Local researcher Chieh Chung, recently told Taiwanese state-run agency CNA that the constant incursions by Chinese planes into the island’s ADIZ were aimed at pressuring and provoking Taiwan.

The most recent incursions were a response to the transit of a US destroyer and a Canadian frigate through the Taiwan Strait on Saturday, the expert added.

In August, the Chinese army conducted sea and land military drills around Taiwan in response to Taiwanese Vice President William Lai’s stopover in the US during a trip to Paraguay.

Lai is the ruling Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate for the 2024 elections.

The Shandong, which became China’s second aircraft carrier in 2019, took part in the military exercises that China conducted around Taiwan in spring in which it simulated a blockade of the island.

China claims sovereignty over Taiwan, a territory it considers a “rebel province” since Kuomintang nationalists withdrew there in 1949 after losing the war against the communist army.  EFE