A show of strength.
China has deployed 71 fighter jets in military maneuvers this weekend around Taiwan.
This is what the Ministry of Defense of Taipei, the Taiwanese capital, said on Monday.
Among these aircraft, 60 were fighter planes, intended primarily for air combat only, while the combat aircraft has a wider range such as ground attacks.
Beijing, the Chinese capital, says it is carrying out these operations in response to "provocations" and "collusion" between the United States and the authorities of the island.
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Taiwan further indicates that 47 of these planes entered the Air Defense Zone (ADIZ) of the Democratic Self-Governing Island, which is the third largest daily incursion recorded, according to the Agence France press database. (AFP).
China considers Taiwan, with a population of 24 million, to be one of its provinces, which it has yet to successfully reunite with the rest of its territory since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949. She sees with dissatisfaction the rapprochement at work in recent years between the Taiwanese authorities and the United States, which provides the island with military support.
14 Chinese incursions in 2020, more than 1,700 this year
Under President Xi Jinping, Beijing has stepped up military, diplomatic and economic pressure on Taiwan as relations deteriorated.
One of the means increasingly used by China is to fly over the Taiwan air defense zone with its warplanes.
Since the start of the year, more than 1,700 such incursions have been recorded, compared to 969 in 2021 and 146 in 2020.
Beijing did not specify the number of devices mobilized for the exercises on Sunday, nor the exact location of these maneuvers.
Data from the Taiwanese Ministry of Defense indicates that most of the incursions were in the southwestern tip of the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).
Some have also crossed the "median line" which runs along the Taiwan Strait and separates Taiwan from the mainland.
Flights in the ADIZ are seen as a way to deplete Taiwan's aging fleet of fighter jets and study its defensive responses.
Many nations maintain ADIZ, including the United States, Canada, South Korea, Japan, and China.
These zones are not identical to a country's airspace, but encompass a much larger area, in which any foreign aircraft are expected to report to local air authorities.
Taiwan's ADIZ overlaps part of China's and even includes a portion of the mainland.
On Saturday, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs had expressed its "firm opposition" after the adoption of a US defense law, the "National Defense Authorization Act", which notably authorizes 10 billion dollars in military aid and sales. weapons in Taiwan.
The Chinese authorities favor "peaceful reunification" with the island but have never given up on the use of force to conquer it, especially if it declares its independence.