Taiwan detects 35 China warplanes join Shandong aircraft carrier in air, sea drills

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Taiwan said Wednesday it had detected 35 Chinese warplanes around the island in a few hours, with some flying to the Western Pacific to join China’s Shandong aircraft carrier for a “joint sea and air training.”

The batch of aircraft including fighters and drones were detected since 6:00 am Wednesday (2200 GMT Tuesday), Taipei’s defense ministry said.

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Around 28 planes crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait, and some fighters “passed through the Bashi Channel to the Western Pacific to conduct joint sea and air training with the Shandong aircraft carrier,” the ministry said in a statement.

“The armed forces have monitored the situation and tasked air patrol aircraft, Navy vessels, and land-based missile systems to respond to these activities,” it added.

Taiwan’s defense ministry tally showed increases in China’s sea and air incursions around the island in recent days.

The ministry said Tuesday it detected 22 warplanes and 20 naval ships around Taiwan between Monday and Tuesday morning.

The incursions came after the Shandong carrier was detected on Monday around 60 nautical miles (111 kilometers) southeast of the island’s southernmost point heading into the Western Pacific.

Beijing, which views self-ruled Taiwan as its own territory to be seized one day, has stepped up military and political pressure on the island in recent years as relations deteriorate.

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