Taiwan Says Chinese Fighter Jets Fly Near Island

Taiwan Says Chinese Fighter Jets Fly Near Island
A J-16 fighter jet performing in the sky during a Chinese air force open day in Changchun in China's northeastern Jilin province, on Oct. 17, 2019. (STR/AFP/China OUT via Getty Images)

TAIPEI, Taiwan—China’s military flew 36 fighter jets and bombers near Taiwan, the Taiwanese defense ministry announced, part of a long-running campaign of intimidation against the self-ruled island democracy.

Ten of the aircraft on Saturday flew across the median line in the Taiwan Strait that separates the island from the mainland, the ministry said. It said they included six Shenyang J-11 and four J-16 aircraft.

Taiwan and China split in 1949 following a civil war that ended with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in control of the mainland. The CCP claims Taiwan is a breakaway province of China that must be united with the mainland, by force if necessary.

However, Taiwan is a self-governing democracy and has never been controlled by the CCP.

The CCP has stepped up efforts this year to intimidate Taiwan. It has sent fighter planes and bombers to fly near the island and fired missiles into the sea.

On Saturday, Taiwan’s military also spotted four Chengdu J-10 fighters, a Y-8 antisubmarine warfare plane and three H-6 bombers southwest of the island, the Ministry of Defense said on its website. It said three Chinese drones also were detected.