Taiwan reports surge in Chinese air force activity after carrier passes by


TAIPEI (Reuters) -Taiwan’s defence ministry on Thursday reported detecting a surge of Chinese military aircraft operating around the island, after a Chinese aircraft carrier passed by to the south of Taiwan on the way to drills in the Pacific.

Taiwan, which China views as its own territory, has complained of repeated Chinese military activity over the past four years as Beijing seeks to pressure the democratically-governed island.

The Chinese carrier the Shandong passed close to the Philippines on its way to the Pacific exercises, Taiwan’s defence minister said on Wednesday.

In its daily update on Chinese military activity over the past 24 and released on Thursday morning, Taiwan’s defence ministry said it had detected 66 Chinese military aircraft operating around the island.

Of those, 39 passed to the south and southeast of Taiwan, the ministry said, having previously said it had detected 36 aircraft heading to the Western Pacific to carry out drills with the Chinese aircraft carrier the Shandong.

China’s defence ministry has not responded to requests for comment on the Shandong’s activities.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Kim Coghill and Michael Perry)

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