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China sends 38 warplanes, 6 navy vessels near Taiwan

An armed Chinese fighter jet flies near a U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon patrol aircraft over the South China Sea about 135 miles east of Hainan Island in international airspace. (U.S. Navy/Released)
April 28, 2023

China’s military, formally known as the People’s Liberation Army, sent 38 aircraft and six navy vessels around Taiwan on Thursday, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense. Taiwan governs itself as an independent nation, but China considers the island a part of its territory and has become increasingly aggressive as it hints at forcible “reunification.”

Taiwan Armed Forces monitored the situation, Taiwanese officials said, and “tasked [combat air patrol] aircraft, Navy vessels, and land-based missile systems to respond these activities.”

“19 of the detected aircraft(SU-30*5, J-10*8, J-16*2, TB-001 UCAV, BZK-005 UAV, Y-8 ASW, Y-8 RECCE) had crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait or entered Taiwan’s southwest, southeast, and northeast ADIZ, flight paths as illustrated,” Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense tweeted.

Experts recently warned that China may be practicing for an invasion of Taiwan by cutting off its internet access, repeatedly severing undersea communications cables near the independent island nation.

Two internet cables between Taiwanese islands were severed in February and Taiwan said it suspected Chinese commercial vessels were responsible, The Associated Press reported. Experts told The Sun the incident was likely the latest in a series of Chinese operations to intimidate the island and practice the first stages of an invasion.

READ MORE: Pics: Taiwan Air Force pilot spotted with ‘Winnie the Pooh’ uniform patch in apparent swipe at Xi Jinping

Cutting undersea communications cables “would cripple the functioning of modern society and give any attacker a free reign,” said Elisabeth Braw, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

“It’s not just the government and hospitals that would cease to function but the ordinary citizens and business would be cut off,” she said, adding, “That would cause unrest, which is a factor that we shouldn’t underestimate. That would be as brutal as a military attack.”

Last year, President Joe Biden said the U.S. would defend Taiwan against a Chinese attack during an appearance on CBS’ “60 Minutes.” As Biden began to describe defending Taiwan from an attack, the ”60 Minutes” segment cut to a statement by the White House that said the U.S. policy toward Taiwan has not changed. “60 Minutes” noted that official U.S. policy has been to not say definitively whether it would intervene on Taiwan’s behalf.