Taiwan reports renewed Chinese military activity, planes in ‘response’ zone

Illustration shows airplane, Chinese and Taiwanese flags

Airplane is seen in front of Chinese and Taiwanese flags in this illustration, August 6, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo Acquire Licensing Rights

TAIPEI, Aug 25 (Reuters) – Taiwan’s defence ministry reported renewed Chinese military activity around the island on Friday, including 13 aircraft entering Taiwan’s “response” zone and five ships carrying out combat readiness patrols.

China, which views democratically governed Taiwan as its own territory, has complained for the past three years of increased military pressure from Beijing.

On Saturday, China held a day of drills around Taiwan in an angry response to brief stop-overs this month in the United States by Vice President William Lai.

The ministry said that starting about 7 a.m. (2300 GMT), it had detected 22 Chinese aircraft – fighters, bombers, early warning aircraft and drones – of which 13 entered Taiwan’s “response” zone, though it did not give details.

Taiwan sent aircraft and ships to monitor them, it said.

Taiwan does not publicise where its “response” zone is, but it keeps closest watch on the Taiwan Strait, and the area to the island’s south and southwest where Chinese military activity often is concentrated.

China has not announced further drills around Taiwan since Saturday, though it frequently mounts such missions without acknowledging them beforehand or afterwards.

Taiwan’s defence ministry this week said it could not judge whether China’s drills that started Saturday had formally ended, as Beijing did not make any announcement. China has continued military movements around Taiwan, though on a lesser scale.

The ministry, in a separate statement on Friday morning, said that during the previous 24 hours it had spotted two Chinese drones near northern Taiwan.

Both crossed the strait’s median line, it said, which had until last year served as an unofficial barrier between the two sides but which Chinese aircraft now routinely cross.

One of the drones, identified by the ministry as a BZK-005, crossed the median line opposite Taiwan’s northwest coast, then flew toward the island’s north before flying northeast of Taiwan.

Taiwan has not reported any Chinese military aircraft in its territorial air space, though has said planes have come close to island’s contiguous zone, which is 24 nautical miles (44 km) off its coast.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Tom Hogue and Gerry Doyle

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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