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China launches military drills around Taiwan after top official visits US 

The Chinese military launched drills around Taiwan on Saturday,” calling it a “storm warning” against “separatists and foreign forces.”

The news follows a visit to the United States by Taiwanese Vice President William Lai on Friday.

The drills by the The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) reportedly included both vessels and planes working together in the waters and airspace to the north and southwest of Taiwan, a spokesperson for China’s Eastern Theater Command said, according to The Associated Press.

“9 PLA aircraft and 6 PLAN vessels around Taiwan were detected by 6 a.m.(UTC+8) today,” a post from Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter read. “R.O.C. Armed Forces have monitored the situation and tasked CAP aircraft, Navy vessels, and land-based missile systems to respond to these activities.”

The ministry added that its forces detected 42 Chinese military aircraft, AP reported. About 26 of them crossed the midline of the Taiwan Strait — an unofficial boundary between the island and China, the defense officials said.

Eight vessels also took part in the joint combat patrol, the ministry added.

The drills are a part of a pattern of Chinese attempts at military intimidation in response to perceived provocation from its rivals. China claims Taiwan as a part of its country, and has acted aggressively in the past when it believes Taiwan or its rivals to be making moves to assert independence for the island. 

China reportedly showed similar force ahead of a summit between President Joe Biden and the leaders of Japan and South Korea.

Japan’s Defense Ministry said it spotted 11 ships from China and its ally Russia crossing between the southern Japanese islands of Okinawa and Miyako on Thursday. On Friday, the ministry also said it scrambled fighter jets after spotting two Russian IL-38 reconnaissance aircraft flying back and forth over the Tsushima Strait in southwestern Japan.

The Associated Press contributed reporting. 

Source: The Hill

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