Taiwan’s defense ministry says dozens of Chinese military planes have entered airspace near the island

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Dozens of Chinese military aircraft and four ships were spotted around Taiwan on Sunday amid heightened tensions, Taiwan’s defense ministry said.

At least 28 Chinese planes crossed the central line of the Taiwan Strait, an unofficial buffer zone that separates the island from China.

The People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command said in a statement that it conducted “joint combat readiness patrols and actual combat drills” to “counter the provocative actions of external forces and separatist forces of independence.” Taiwan.”

FILE PHOTO: In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, fighter jets of the Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) conduct joint combat training exercises around Taiwan Island.

FILE PHOTO: In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, fighter jets of the Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) conduct joint combat training exercises around Taiwan Island.
(Gong Yulong/Xinhua via AP)

Taiwan’s defense ministry said aircraft, ships, and land-based missile systems​​​​ were activated to respond to the attack. This is the second time this week that the Chinese military has flown aircraft near Taiwan.

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Tensions came to a head in August after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, with China increasing the frequency of combat drills around the island in recent months.

FILE PHOTO: Soldiers take place during Taiwan's main year "Han Kuang" exercise in New Taipei City, Taiwan, July 27, 2022.

FILE PHOTO: Soldiers take part during Taiwan’s annual major exercise “Han Kuang” in New Taipei City, Taiwan, July 27, 2022.
(REUTERS/Ann Wang)

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said this week that he believes war can be avoided.

“There is a risk of conflict regarding Taiwan, but I believe that with responsible stewardship, we can ensure that this event does not materialize. And that’s our role,” Sullivan told NPR.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping told President Biden at November’s G20 summit in Bali that the Taiwan issue is “the very heart of China’s core interests” and the “first red line” in the two countries’ ties. – lateral

President Biden said after that meeting that he “does not think there is any attempt in the near future by China to attack Taiwan.” ”

Reuters contributed to this report.

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