China flies 38 fighter jets and sails six navy vessels near Taiwan

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China’s military has flown 38 fighter jets and other warplanes near Taiwan, the Taiwanese defence ministry said.

It is the largest such flight display since a large military exercise in which it simulated sealing off the island earlier this month.

Six navy vessels were also spotted in the area from 6am on Thursday to 6am on Friday as part of China’s long-running campaign of intimidation against the self-ruled island democracy that Beijing claims as part of its territory.

Nineteen of the aircraft flew across the midline in the Taiwan Strait that separates the island from the mainland, the ministry said.

An SU-30
An SU-30, like the ones flown near Taiwan by China (File photo/Stuart Gray/Alamy/PA)

One drone, a TB-001, circled the island, according to a diagram from the Defence Ministry.

China held exercises simulating the sealing off the island after the sensitive meeting April 5 between Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen and US House speaker Kevin McCarthy in California.

China opposes any exchanges at the official level between Taiwan and other governments.

Taiwan and China split in 1949 following a civil war that ended with the Communist Party in control of the mainland.

The island has never been part of the People’s Republic of China but Beijing says it must unite with the mainland – by force if necessary.

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