China sends more warplanes as Taiwan honours Lee Teng-hui

Multiple Chinese military aircraft approached Taiwan for a second consecutive day on Saturday as the island’s leader, government officials and a senior United States envoy bid farewell to the late Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui, dubbed “Mr Democracy” for ending autocratic rule in Taipei in favour of free elections.

The Taiwanese defence ministry said 19 Chinese aircraft were involved in Saturday’s exercises, one more than the previous day, with some crossing the sensitive Taiwan Strait midline and others flying into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone off its southwest coast.

It said China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, sent 12 J-16 fighters, two J-10 fighters, two J-11 fighters, two H-6 bombers and one Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft.

According to a map the ministry provided, none got close to mainland Taiwan itself or flew over it.

“ROCAF scrambled fighters, and deployed air defence missile system to monitor the activities,” the ministry said in a tweet, referring to the Republic of China Air Force, the formal name of Taiwan’s air force.

Taiwan’s defence ministry, in a separate statement, said China was carrying out provocative activities, seriously damaging peace and stability.

“The Defence Ministry sternly condemns this, and calls on the mainland authorities to control themselves and pull back from the edge.”

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