The Chinese military organizes large-scale military exercises around Taiwan

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Taipei, Taiwan

China sent 28 warplanes over the central line of the Taiwan Strait on Sunday as Beijing conducted its first large-scale military exercise around the island this year, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said.

The 28 People’s Liberation Army (PLA) planes were among 57 seen near Taiwan, the ministry said, adding that they included fighters J-10, J-11, J -16 and Su-30, H-6 bombers, three drones and one early. warning and reconnaissance aircraft.

Taiwan relied on aircraft, naval vessels and land-based missile systems to respond to China’s actions, the ministry said.

A map provided by the ministry showed PLA aircraft crossing the central line in seven places from north to south and flying through Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) south of the island, then turning slightly north to the east of the line.

A statement from the PLA’s Eastern Theater Command said its forces were engaged in combat drills around Taiwan on Sunday.

“The exercise focused on ground strikes, sea attacks and other subjects, aimed at testing the combat capability of the troops and resolutely countering the controversial and provocative activities of the external forces and separatist forces ‘non- Taiwan’s independence’,” according to a statement posted on the state-run China Military Online.

The ruling Communist Party of China views Taiwan – a democratically governed island of 24 million – as part of its territory, despite never having controlled it. He has long vowed to “reunify” the island with mainland China, by force if necessary.

The combat exercise follows a similar one on December 25, in which the PLA sent 47 aircraft over the central line of the Taiwan Strait out of a total of 71 seen around the island, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense.

China’s military drills on Sunday came three days after a US Navy destroyer crossed the Taiwan Strait in a “freedom of navigation” operation, the first such cruise reported by the US Navy this year.

The USS Chung-Hoon “passed through a passage in the Straits that is outside the territorial sea of ​​any coastal state,” a US 7th Navy statement said, adding that its passage “shows commitment of the United States for Indo- open open and open. Pacific Ocean.”

China said it was monitoring the movement of the US warship and that all its movements were “under control.”

A story in the state-run Global Times tabloid said the PLA would step up its drills around Taiwan if provocations from outside forces and “Taiwan independence” forces continued.

The Global Times story announced the move of a US destroyer from the Taiwan Strait and a possible $180 million arms sale to Taiwan that was approved by the Biden administration on December 28.

The sale of the launched anti-tank weapon systems “serves the national, economic and security interests of the US by supporting the recipient’s ongoing efforts to modernize its armed forces and maintain a credible defense capability.” to be held,” the US State Department said in a statement.

Washington has long provided arms to Taiwan under the terms of the Taiwan Relations Act, which says the US will give the island a chance to defend itself.

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