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China conducts naval, aerial military exercises in areas southwest of Taiwan

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China announced naval and aerial military exercises were conducted in areas southwest of Taiwan Friday, the second time in a month.

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Combat ships, early-warning aircraft and bombers were among the forces that joined the exercises “to improve integrated operational capability in territory southwest of Taiwan,” Shi Yi, spokesperson for the People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command, said in a statement Saturday, without saying how close to the democratically-ruled island the drills were.

Shi said military exercises will be “conducted regularly” based on the situation in the Taiwan Strait and the need to maintain sovereign security.

China had another drill in areas south of Taiwan in mid-August, with combat ships, anti-submarine aircraft and fighter jets among the forces that joined the exercises. Shi described repeated collusion between the US and Taiwan had become “the largest source of trouble for security and stability in the area.

The Taiwanese Defense Ministry said in a statement Friday that ten Chinese military aircraft, including two Y-8s, two J-11s, and six J-16s, were detected in Taiwan’s southwestern air defense identification zone.

Two US ships sailed through the Taiwan Strait in late August, in what both the US and Taiwanese administrations described as normal operations. Early last month, the Biden administration approved its first arms sale to Taiwan, a potential $750 million deal.

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