Taiwan says 11 Chinese warships and 70 aircraft spotted around island.

Taiwan has detected 11 Chinese warships, 70 aircraft around the island, its defence ministry said Sunday.

Taiwan’s statement came as China’s military simulated precision strikes against it in a second day of drills around the island on Sunday. The island’s defence ministry previously reported multiple air force sorties and that it was monitoring China’s missile forces.

The ministry said it was responding to the Chinese drills “in a calm and composed manner”, adding that the warplanes detected until 4 pm local time (0800 GMT) included a mix of fighter jets and bombers.

China, which claims democratically governed Taiwan as its own territory, began three days of military exercises around the island on Saturday, the day after Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen returned from a brief visit to the United States.

The ministry said they were paying particular attention to the People’s Liberation Army’s Rocket Force which is in charge of China’s land-based missile system.

“Regarding the movements of the Chinese communists’ Rocket Force, the nation’s military also has a close grasp through the joint intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance system, and air defence forces remain on high alert,” the ministry said.

It reiterated that Taiwan’s forces will “not escalate conflicts nor cause disputes” and would respond “appropriately” to China’s drills.

The security source said about 20 military ships, half from Taiwan and half from China, were engaged in a stand-off near the Taiwan Strait’s median line, which has for years served as an unofficial barrier between the two sides, but did not behave provocatively.

China’s aircraft carrier Shandong, which Taiwan has been monitoring since last week, is now more than 400 nautical miles off Taiwan’s southeast coast and is carrying out drills, the source said.

Zhao Xiaozhuo of China’s Academy of Military Sciences told the Chinese state-backed Global Times newspaper this was the first time China had openly talked of simulated attacks on targets in Taiwan.

Key targets would include infrastructure such as runways, military logistics facilities and mobile targets “to annihilate them in one fell swoop if necessary”, the report cited Zhao as saying.

Source- Hindustan Times.

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