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China sends over 20 fighter jets to Taiwan after US


China sent the most warplanes near Taiwan in nearly two months, a move that comes as the US approved the sale of $619 million worth of arms to the democratically run island.

Some 17 J-10 and four J-16 fighter jets were detected in the southwestern part of the island’s air-defense identification zone in the 24 hours to early Thursday, the Defense Ministry in Taipei said in a statement posted on Twitter.

The US has approved the possible sale of F-16 munitions and related equipment to Taiwan, an agency under the State Department said in a statement Wednesday. The main contractors are Raytheon Missiles & Defense and Lockheed Martin Corp. — the two companies that Beijing sanctioned last month for selling weapons to Taipei.

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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning criticized the US for the planned deal, saying it “seriously damages China’s sovereignty and security interests,” and hurt ties between the world’s two biggest economies.

Washington should “stop arms sales to Taiwan and military contact with Taiwan, and stop creating tensions in the strait,” she said Thursday at a regular press briefing in Beijing. Her nation would take “resolute and effective measures” to protect its sovereignty, she added, without explaining what that would involve.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping has recently scaled back the military pressure on Taiwan that has been one hallmark of his decade in power. That’s likely because Taiwan is gearing up for an election early next year that Beijing’s preferred negotiating partner, the opposition Kuomintang, has a chance at winning.

Still, US weapons sales to Taiwan tend to upset China, which sees them as a provocation. The People’s Liberation Army sent 47 aircraft into the sensitive ADIZ in December last year after Washington authorized up to $10 billion in weapons sales to Taiwan over five years.



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