China sent 19 fighter jets to Taiwan in a large show of force on Thursday, after the autonomous island announced plans to join an 11-country Pacific trade group that China has also asked to join.
Taiwan has deployed air patrol forces in response to the Chinese jets and followed them on their air defense systems, the island’s defense ministry said in a statement.
Among the various jets, some of which followed a long L-shaped trajectory, were 12 J-16s and two J-11s, as well as bombers and an anti-submarine aircraft.
China sent fighter jets to Taiwan almost daily last year. He has stepped up his military harassment against the Autonomous Island and has sent out large fighter aircraft demonstrations after political events in which he considers it interferes with its sovereignty.
Taiwan and China separated in a civil war in 1949, but China continues to claim Taiwan as part of its territory. Beijing is opposed to Taiwan’s involvement in international bodies.
Taiwan said Thursday it has asked to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, creating another potential clash with Beijing.
The Chinese military sent 18 planes to Taiwan last year when a senior US diplomat visited the island and met with senior government officials.
In June, he dispatched 28 warplanes after leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized countries issued a statement calling for a peaceful resolution of Taiwan’s cross-strait issues. (PA)