Taiwan detects 8 Chinese warships, 42 fighter jets around island

Agence France-Presse
Taiwan detects 8 Chinese warships, 42 fighter jets around island
This photo taken on October 17, 2019 shows a J-16 fighter jet performing in the sky during the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force Aviation Open Day in Changchun in China's northeastern Jilin province, to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force.

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan's defense ministry said eight Chinese warships and 42 fighter jets were detected around the island on Saturday, as China announced three days of military drills. 

The ministry said the incursion included 29 jets that crossed into Taiwan's southwestern air defence identification zone (ADIZ), the highest number in a single day this year, according to data collected by AFP. 

The show of force comes a day after President Tsai Ing-wen landed in Taipei after meeting US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in Los Angeles. 

Tsai said Saturday that Taiwan has "faced continued authoritarian expansionism" in recent years, making cooperation between democratic nations even more vital. 

"We will continue to work with the US and other like-minded countries to jointly defend the values of freedom and democracy," she said. 

The defence ministry said the incursions were detected between 6 and 11 am local time (2200 GMT to 0300 GMT). 

Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council called for China to "exercise self-restraint". 

"The CCP (Chinese Communist Party) continues to intimidate Taiwan militarily to undermine peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait as well as in the region," the Council said.  

"Taiwan will not back down or succumb, and we will not provoke or act rashly," it added. 

The ADIZ is not the same as Taiwan's territorial airspace, including a far greater area that overlaps with part of China's own ADIZ and even some of the mainland. 

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