China Ramps Up Aerial Activity Near Taiwan With 103 Military Planes

( – One hundred and three Chinese warplanes were sent toward Taiwan between Sept. 17 and 18, a new high according to Taiwan’s Defense Ministry.

The planes were detected over a 24-hour period from 6 a.m. Sept. 17, to 6 a.m. Sept. 18, according to Taiwan’s Defense Ministry. The symbolic median line between Taiwan and mainland China was crossed by 40 warplanes, including more than 30 fighter jets as well as a few midair-refueling tanker planes. In the previous 24-hour period, nine Chinese naval vessels were also reported in the waters near Taiwan. On Sept. 19, 55 more warplanes were detected near Taiwan by its R.O.C. Armed Forces. Twenty-seven of the 55 crossed the median line. Small numbers of Chinese warplanes fly toward Taiwan on an almost daily basis.

The military action by China is “harassment,” according to Taiwan’s Defense Ministry. In a statement, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry urged China to “immediately stop such kinds of destructive military activities,” warning it could escalate tensions.

China considers Taiwan part of its territory and therefore Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning stated that the “median line” does not exist.

On Sept. 9, Canadian and U.S. warships sailed through the water that separates Taiwan from mainland China known as the Taiwan Strait. A flotilla of ships that included the aircraft carrier Shandong was sent into waters near Taiwan by China in response.

In the air and water around Taiwan, China has held bigger military drills as tensions have grown between China, Taiwan as well as the United States.

In 1949, China and Taiwan split in 1949 after a civil war. While the Communists who won took control of China, the Nationalists who lost fled to Taiwan where they set up their own government. Official diplomatic recognition of Taiwan is only given by a few foreign nations. While the U.S. and others have formal ties with China a representative office is maintained in Taiwan.

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