Chinese warplanes harass Taiwan before presidential inauguration

Taipei: Taiwan’s Defence Ministry on Wednesday said it had registered 45 Chinese warplanes in Taiwan’s airspace within 24 hours.

The number marked a recent record high in the number of Chinese daily sorties this year. This new record number comes just days before the presidential inauguration of Lai Ching-te from the independence-leading Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), to take place on May 20.

Among the detected aircraft, 26 of them crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait and entered Taiwan’s northern and south-western air space, the ministry said on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, six Chinese Navy vessels had been spotted, the ministry said.

Taiwan had monitored the situation and tasked Combat air patrol aircraft, Navy vessels, and land-based missile systems to respond to these activities, the ministry said.

Taiwan regularly reports such actions by Chinese forces. This year’s previous record number of daily sorties of Chinese warplanes, 36, was seen in March.

Taiwan held its democratic presidential and legislative elections in mid-January. Lai won the presidential election with around 40 per cent of the vote. However, the DPP lost its majority in parliament.

Taiwan has had an independent government since 1949, but China considers the self-ruled democracy part of its territory.

IANS

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