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China conducts military drills near Taiwan in wake of Tsai's US visit

A Taiwanese Mirage 2000 fighter jet lands at an air force base in Hsinchu, Taiwan, on 9 April 2023 as China was conducting a second day of military drills near the country. (Jameson Wu/AFP via Getty Images)

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) has deployed several aircraft and vessels either near or across the median line in the Taiwan Strait in the wake of a meeting between Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California.

The deployments are part of military drills and “combat readiness patrols” known as Exercise ‘Joint Sword', which was announced by the PLA's Eastern Theatre Command on 7 April. The exercise began on 8 April and is scheduled to conclude on 10 April.

On the first day of the exercise, the PLA deployed a total of 71 aircraft and nine naval vessels in the strait, Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) told on 8 April.

Forty-five of the detected aircraft had crossed northern, central, and southern median line of the strait and entered Taiwan's southwest air-defense identification zone (ADIZ), the MND added.

Subsequently, the PLA Navy (PLAN) increased the number of ships in the exercises on its second day with 11 vessels detected on 9 April, the MND disclosed on the same day. However, there was one less aircraft detected in the strait that day, although the number of airframes that crossed the median line remained at 45.

As of 0600 h local time on 10 April, there have been 70 PLA aircraft and 11 vessels detected in the Taiwan Strait thus far, the MND said on the same day.

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