Taiwan Reports Massive Surge in Chinese Aircraft in Defense Zone

China blamed the United States on Monday for increased tensions over Taiwan, as the island fingered Beijing as the “chief culprit” after reporting the largest ever incursion by China’s air force into its air defense zone at 56 aircraft.

Chinese-claimed Taiwan has complained for a year or more of repeated missions by China’s air force near the democratically governed island, often in the southwestern part of its air defense zone close to the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands.

But since Friday, when China marked its national day, the country has embarked upon a massive ramping up of its missions, with almost 150 aircraft flying into the defense zone over the space of four days.

The latest mission included 34 J-16 fighters and 12 nuclear-capable H-6 bombers, which all flew in an area in the vicinity of the Pratas Islands, according to a map provided by the ministry. A further four Chinese fighters were spotted on Monday night, taking the total to the day to 56 aircraft.

Taiwanese fighter jets scrambled to warn away the Chinese planes, while missile systems were deployed to monitor them, it added.

The United States on Sunday urged China to stop its “provocative” military activities near Taiwan, while the island’s government has also condemned Beijing.

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