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Reuters: Taiwan reports China's largest incursion yet to air defence zone

26-12-2022 |

Seventy-one Chinese air force aircraft including fighter jets and drones entered Taiwan's air defence identification zone in the past 24 hours, the island's government said on Monday, the largest reported incursion to date.

Of the aircraft, 43 also crossed the Taiwan Strait's median line, an unofficial buffer between the two sides that lies within the defence zone, Taiwan's Defence Ministry said in a report, as Beijing continues military activities close to the Chinese-claimed island.

Taiwan, which strongly rejects China's sovereignty claims, said the drills showed Beijing was destroying regional peace and trying to intimidate Taiwan's people.

A senior Taiwan official familiar with security planning in the region told Reuters that Taiwan assessed China had staged the military "provocation" to express anger at a new U.S. defence authorisation law that boosts military assistance for Taiwan.

The office of Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said Tsai will call a high-level national security meeting on Tuesday morning to discuss reinforcing the island's civil defence system, followed by a press conference on new civil defence measures.

The statement gave no details, but the defence ministry has said it was considering extending compulsory military service beyond four months, as the war in Ukraine and rising tensions with Beijing renewed discussion about how to respond to Chinese military pressure.

"The more preparations we make, the less likely there will be rash attempts of aggression. The more united we are, the stronger and safer Taiwan would become," Tsai told a military ceremony on Monday.

China has stepped up its diplomatic, military and economic pressure in recent years on the self-governed island to accept Beijing's rule. Taiwan's government says it wants peace but will defend itself if attacked.

Source: Reuters