China harasses Taiwan with fighter jets, blames US for meddling

Taipei, Taiwan

With record numbers of military flights near Taiwan over the last week, China has been showing a new intensity and military sophistication as it steps up its harassment of the island it claims as its own and asserts its territorial ambitions in the vicinity.

China’s People’s Liberation Army flew 56 planes off the southwest coast of Taiwan on Monday, setting a new record and capping four days of consistent pressure involving 149 flights. All were in international airspace, but prompted Taiwanese defense forces to scramble in response and raised fears that any misstep could provoke an unintended escalation.

The sorties came as China, with growing diplomatic and military strength, faces greater pushback from countries in the vicinity and an increasing naval presence from the United States and other Western democracies in Asia as Taiwan pleads for more global sustain and recognition.

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