While relations between Beijing and Taipei are tense, nearly forty Chinese warplanes entered Taiwan's air defense zone in the space of six hours. Since 5 a.m. local time (23 p.m. Wednesday in France), "a total of 37 Chinese fighter jets" have entered Taiwan's Air Defense Identification Zone (Adiz), Taiwanese Ministry of National Defense spokesman Sun Li-fang said.
"Some continued to the Western Pacific for long-range reconnaissance training," he said. An Adiz is a large area unilaterally defined by countries and in which they require foreign aircraft to identify themselves for reasons of national security.
Since Xi Jinping came to power more than 10 years ago, relations have deteriorated. In recent years, China has increased its military incursions around the island.
Taiwan has deployed warplanes and warships
Since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, China has regarded Taiwan as a province it has not yet managed to reunify with the rest of its territory, and Beijing has aimed for this reunification by force if necessary.
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While this is not the largest number of Chinese incursions into Taiwan's Adiz this year — 45 Chinese planes entered it on April 9 after encircling the island with warships — Thursday's wave occurred in a very short period of time.
Taiwan's military is "monitoring the situation closely," the ministry said on Twitter, adding that patrol aircraft, warships and land-based missile systems had been deployed in response.
Thursday's incursions come a day after the first joint U.S., Japan, and Philippine Coast Guard exercises in the South China Sea ended.