Taiwan's military reports 33 Chinese warplanes detected around island in last 24 hours
Taipei: The Taiwanese Defense Ministry said on Saturday that it had detected 33 aircraft and 10 vessels of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) around the island over the past 24 hours.
"[A total of] 33 PLA aircraft and 10 PLAN [People's Liberation Army Navy] vessels around Taiwan were detected by 6 a.m. (UTC+8) [22:00 GMT] Saturday. 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 tweeted.
It added that 12 of the detected aircraft, including SU-30, J-10 and J-16 jets, Y-8 transport aircraft, a WZ-7 drone and a Z-9 helicopter, had entered the island's southwest and southeast air defense identification zone.
The situation around Taiwan recently escalated again after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen met with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in April, with Beijing launching massive three-day military drills near the island in what it called a "warning" to Taiwanese separatists and foreign powers.
Taiwan has been governed independently of mainland China since 1949. Beijing regards the island as its province, while Taiwan — a territory with its own elected government — maintains that it is an autonomous country but stops short of declaring independence. Beijing opposes any official foreign contacts with Taipei and regards Chinese sovereignty over the island as indisputable.
(With UNI inputs)