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China’s Military Incursions Inching Closer to Taiwan: Officials

The Chinese military has ramped up unauthorized incursions in Taiwan in recent weeks, with some incidents much closer to the island nation than they were before.

Two Taiwanese government officials recently told Reuters that since late April, an increasing number of Chinese warplanes and vessels have staged drills near Taiwan’s contiguous zone 24 nautical miles (27 miles/44 kilometers) off its coast.

The incursions have alarmed Taipei, especially now that the country is preparing for the inauguration of President-elect Lai Ching-te on May 20.

The sources noted that Beijing has also become more provocative, sending dozens of ships around the small island nation simultaneously compared to only four or so before.

There were also notable changes in flight patterns, scale, and frequency, though the unnamed officials did not elaborate.

“The irony is that when the new president vowed to ensure the status quo, Beijing responded by destroying the status quo,” one of the sources stated.

Recent Incursions

The most recent large-scale military incursion in Taiwan happened on May 14, with 45 Chinese military aircraft detected flying around the Southeast Asian nation over a 24-hour monitoring period.

Taipei’s defense ministry said the number was the highest in a single day so far this year.

A few days earlier, about 10 Chinese frigates and coast guard boats were spotted near Taiwan, some of them approaching the contiguous zone.

The ministry explained that the country has “full grasp of the situation” and has been responding “accordingly.”

“The national military is not the troublemaker of the Taiwan Strait,” defense ministry spokesman Sun Li-fang said. “We will not engage in any provocation, and we must make it clear that any provocative behavior is unhelpful to regional peace and stability.”

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