Taiwan scrambles fighter jets as China deploys 36 warplanes to buzz island


TAIWAN has scrambled fighter jets to protect its territory after China deployed more than 30 warplanes to buzz the island.

Dramatic video shared by Chinese state TV shows missiles being launched and jets mid-flight as part of joint military operations in the waters surrounding Taiwan.

For its part, Taiwan’s Ministry of Defence has shared its own footage of military exercises, including the second day of live-fire artillery drills in Pingtung, the southernmost province on the island.

The defence ministry claimed that 10 Chinese warships and 36 military aircraft had been detected around Taiwan on Wednesday.

In response, the ministry said it was monitoring the situation and deploying its own naval vessels, aircraft, and land-based missile systems.

Earlier on Wednesday, sources claimed Chinese naval ships were active off both the east and west coasts of Taiwan, while fighter jets were also flying close to the halfway point of the Taiwanese straight.

Sharing a clip of its fighter jets taking over ahead of journeys over the Taiwan Strait, Taiwan’s defence ministry said: “We are at the ready keeping our country safe. We stand on the frontlines to protect our country from any threat.

“We neither seek escalation nor instigate disputes. Maintaining the status quo is our solemn mission,” it went on, over footage of military exercises.

“Holding the median line, safeguarding our seas and our sovereignty, we have never given in to challenges, and never will,” the video concluded.

In response, China has shared its own footage of the Eastern Theatre Command of missile launches and military jet takeoffs and mid-air refuellings, as well as navy ships on so-called drills around Taiwan.

The video – shared by state broadcaster CCTV – also included a computer-generated animation of Chinese missiles landing in four distinct zones in the waters surrounding the island.

US warships are being deployed to the region, USNI reports, raising fears of a broader international conflict.

“We will continue to stand by our allies and partners,” US undersecretary of defence for policy Colin Kahl said. “So even as China tries to chip away at the status quo, our policy is to maintain the status quo with a free and open Indo-Pacific which is what I think most of the countries in the region would prefer.”

China’s military announced on Wednesday it has “completed various tasks” around Taiwan, but will continue to conduct regular patrols.

It added: “Theatre forces will keep an eye on the changes in the situation in the Taiwan Strait, continue to carry out training and preparation for combat, organise regular combat readiness patrols in the direction of the Taiwan Strait, and resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Taiwan says it has dispatched planes and ships to the area to monitor the situation.

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