Taiwan says eight Chinese fighter jets crossed strait's median line

Taiwan says eight Chinese fighter jets crossed strait's median line

Taiwan says eight Chinese fighter jets crossed strait's median line

Taiwan’s defence ministry said on Sunday that it has detected eight Chinese fighter planes and one Chinese balloon crossing the Taiwan Strait in the previous 24 hours.

Over the last four years, Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, has often complained about Chinese military action near the island.

China has increased military deployments near Taiwan as the island’s presidential and parliamentary elections on January 13 approach.

The Chinese J-10, J-11, and J-16 fighter jets crossed the median line at positions north and centre of the strait, according to Taiwan’s defence ministry.

The median line once served as an unofficial barrier between the two sides, but Chinese planes now regularly fly over it.

Taiwan sent its own forces to monitor, the ministry said.

The ministry also reported another Chinese balloon in the strait, the latest in a spate of what Taiwan says are most likely for monitoring the weather, driven by prevailing winds at this time of year.

It said the balloon was spotted after crossing the median line late on Saturday morning 97 nautical miles (180 km) northwest of the northern Taiwanese port city of Keelung at altitude of approximately 20,000 feet (6,100 metres).

The balloon headed east and disappeared around one hour later, the ministry added.

The potential for China to use balloons for spying became a global issue in February when the United States shot down what it said was a Chinese surveillance balloon. China said the balloon was a civilian craft that accidentally drifted astray.