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    Taiwan Says 25 Chinese Planes, 3 Ships Sent Toward Island

    Taiwan Says 25 Chinese Planes, 3 Ships Sent Toward Island

    , sent 25 warplanes and three warships toward Taiwan on Wednesday morning, the island's Defense Ministry said, as tensions remain high between Beijing and Taipei's main backer Washington.

    The ministry said 19 of those planes crossed into Taiwan's defense identification zone while the ships were continuing to operate in the Taiwan Strait. It said Taiwan responded by scrambling fighters, dispatching ships and activating coastal missile defense systems to “closely monitor and respond.”

    China stages such incursions on a near-daily basis, part of what are termed “gray zone” tactics, aimed at intimidation and wearing down Taiwan's equipment, exhausting its personnel and degrading public morale. Those also include cyberwarfare and disinformation campaigns, along with a relentless drive to deprive Taiwan of diplomatic allies.

    Taiwan has responded by upgrading its fleet of F-16 fighter jets and ordering 66 more of the planes from the U.S., while purchasing a range of other weaponry and extending its mandatory term of military service for all males from four months to one year.

    Relations between Beijing and Washington, Taiwan's primary ally and source of defensive weaponry, have spiraled over China's actions toward the island, trade, technology and the South China Sea.

    U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken canceled a visit to Beijing last month after the U.S. shot down a suspected Chinese…

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