TAIPEI, Taiwan — China sent navy ships and a large group of fighter jets toward Taiwan, continuing its military pressure on the island, Taiwan’s defense ministry said Thursday.
China claims self-ruled Taiwan as its own territory and has regularly sent flights toward the island in reaction to the island’s political activities. In the past year, it has also sent navy vessels as well as drones to circle the waters near the island.
Taiwan’s defense ministry said the Chinese People’s Liberation Army sent 33 warplanes and 6 navy vessels between 6 a.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday. The J-10 and J-16 fighter jets flew across the midline and to the southwest of Taiwan.
The ministry said in an earlier statement Wednesday that Taiwan’s military tracked five of the ships as they sailed in coordination with the flights of the fighter jets.
The ministry said it used land-based missile systems to track the aircraft, 10 of which crossed the midline of the Taiwan Strait, an unofficial boundary that had been considered a buffer between the island and mainland.
In response to escalating Chinese military pressure, Taiwan has been buying weapons and fighter jets to shore up its defenses. In July, the U.S. announced a $345 million package of sales to Taiwan that will include portable air defense systems, intelligence and surveillance capabilities, firearms and missiles.