66 Chinese aircraft surround Taiwan in biggest sortie of year

TAIPEI: Taiwan’s defence ministry said on Thursday ( Jul 11 ) it had detected 66 Chinese military aircraft around the island in a 24-hour window, a record-high this year, a day after it said Beijing was conducting exercises in nearby waters.

China, which maintains a quasi-daily military appearance around Taiwan, claims that the self-held beach is a part of its territory and has pledged to not give up using force to take it under its control.

The report on Thursday comes a moment after Taipei discovered Chinese aircraft flying toward the beach and claiming to be traveling to the eastern Pacific for activities with the PLA aircraft carrier Shandong.

“66 PLA aircraft and seven PLAN vessels operating around Taiwan were detected upward until 6am today”, the army department said in Thursday’s speech, adding it has “responded consequently”.

The Taiwan Strait, a constricting 180 km of lake that separates the isle from China, is a delicate middle line that separates the 56 Chinese aircraft.

Some of the airplane came within 61 kilometers of Taiwan’s southeastern idea, according to an illustration it provided.

The month’s previous record was in May, when Beijing sent 62 military aircraft and 27 marine vessels around Taiwan.

That occurred in the middle of Beijing’s war game, which came shortly after Taiwan’s election of Lai Ching-te, who Beijing views as a “dangerous secessionist”.