Chinese military incursions into Taiwanese territory have raised tensions in the region. China sent 15 military aircraft into Taiwanese airspace between mainland Taiwan and the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands in the South China Sea on Sunday, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said. A total of six J-10 fighters, four J-16s, two SU-30s, a Y-8 reconnaissance aircraft and two Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft, were sent by China, the ministry said in a statement.
It follows China sending eight nuclear-capable bombers and four fighter jets into the same airspace on Saturday. China, which continues to claim Taiwan as its own territory, in recent months has conducted almost daily flights over the waters between the southern part of Taiwan and the Pratas Islands. However these flights have generally consisted of only one or two reconnaissance aircraft. The presence of so many Chinese combat aircraft on this mission — including an anti-submarine aircraft, eight H-6K bombers, and four J-16 fighter jets — is unusual. A map provided by Taiwan’s Defense Ministry showed that the Chinese aircraft flew over the same waters where the most recent Chinese missions have been taking place, well away from mainland Taiwan. News of the incursion brought a swift statement from the US State Department, urging China to stop pressuring Taiwan while reaffirming its commitment to the nation.
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