Taiwan says 52 Chinese warplanes entered defense zone after US expressed 'concern'

Taiwan says 52 Chinese warplanes entered defense zone after US expressed 'concern'
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Taiwan officials said 52 Chinese military aircraft entered the self-ruled island’s air defense identification zone Monday, Beijing's largest military provocation seen yet.

China sent 34 J-16 fighter jets, 12 H-6 bombers, two Su-30 fighters and various other aircraft into Taiwan's Air Defense Identification Zone. In response, Taiwan deployed its planes to warn Beijing away, issued radio warnings and deployed its missile systems to track the Chinese aircraft, Taipei’s Defense Ministry said in a statement.

The action follows the State Department’s Sunday message that the U.S. is “very concerned” about China's “provocative military activity near Taiwan.”

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Such activity is “destabilizing, risks miscalculations, and undermines regional peace and stability. We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure and coercion against Taiwan,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.

China in recent days and weeks has ramped up its saber rattling toward Taiwan, which it views as part of its territory.

On Friday, China flew 38 military aircraft into Taiwan's air defense zone near the Pratas Islands and the Bashi Channel in two rounds of flights.

Then on Saturday, China sent 30 warplanes toward the independent island, which again took place near the Pratas Islands.

Taiwan has maintained it is a sovereign country separate from China, which it accused of “wantonly” engaging in military aggression, damaging regional peace.

China, meanwhile, earlier this year warned that “'Taiwan independence' means war."  

--Updated on Oct. 5 at 5:55 a.m.