In a recent development, Taiwan's defense ministry reported that 20 Chinese air force planes, including combat drones, entered Taiwan's air defense zone within a 24-hour timeframe. One of these drones flew along Taiwan's Pacific east coast, revealing China's continuing assertiveness in the region.
For the past three years, Taiwan has been vocal about the heightened military pressure from Beijing. Just a week ago, China conducted military drills around Taiwan. The exercise was perceived as Beijing's answer to Vice President William Lai's brief stop-over in the United States earlier this month.
Diving deeper into the details of this military activity, Taiwan's defense sources identified the Chinese aircraft involved as Su-30 and J-10 fighters, along with anti-submarine planes. “Some of the fighters and drones crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait,” the defense ministry stated, sharing a map that showcased the previous unofficial barrier's routine breaches by Chinese aircraft over the past year.
The ministry further highlighted the flight path of a TB-001 drone. Famously termed the “twin-tailed scorpion” by Chinese state media, this drone is known for its high-altitude, long-range capabilities. It was seen flying northward to Taiwan, tracing the island's east coast, before looping back to China. Remarkably, the same drone model had circled Taiwan in April.
While China's defense ministry remains tight-lipped, offering no comments on Saturday, their military activities around Taiwan persist. Beijing has also refrained from making formal announcements on whether its recent drills have concluded.
Tensions in the region seem to be escalating further. Just this week, China criticized the U.S. for approving additional arms sales to Taiwan. In response, Taiwan revealed its plan to allocate $3 billion next year for weapon purchases, including fighter jets.
Though no Chinese military aircraft have been reported within Taiwan's territorial airspace, they've neared the island's contiguous zone, situated within 24 nautical miles of its coast, according to Reuters.
Adding to the concerns, Japan's defense ministry shared that they dispatched jet fighters to monitor Chinese air force bombers and drones near southwestern Okinawa island and Taiwan.
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