China Flies Record 52 Planes Toward Self-Ruled Taiwan

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A Chinese PLA J-16 fighter jet in flight.
FILE -In this undated file photo released by the Taiwan Ministry of Defense, a Chinese PLA J-16 fighter jet flies in an undisclosed location. China flew more than 30 military planes toward Taiwan on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021, the second large display of force in as many days. (Taiwan Ministry of Defense via AP, File)

TAIPEI, Taiwan — China flew 52 fighter planes toward Taiwan on Monday in the largest show of force on record, continuing the three days of sustained military harassment against the self-ruled island.

The sortie included 34 J-16 fighter jets and 12 H-6 bombers, among other aircraft, according to Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense. Taiwanese air force scrambled the jets and monitored the movement of the Chinese warplanes on its air defense system.

Starting last Friday, on China's National Day, the People's Liberation Army sent 38 warplanes into the area and 39 aircraft on Saturday, previously the most in a single day since Taiwan began releasing reports on the flights in September 2020. China sent an additional 16 planes on Sunday.

The number of flights into Taiwan's air defense identification zone had prompted a statement from U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price over the weekend, who warned that China’s military activity near Taiwan risks miscalculation and undermines regional peace and stability.

“We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure and coercion against Taiwan,” the statement said.

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