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Taiwan Says China Flies 39 Warplanes Into Its Air Defense Zone

FILE - This photo taken July 22, 2017, by Taiwan's Defense Ministry shows a Taiwanese jet intercepting a Chinese H-6 bomber over a part of the East China Sea disputed by China, Japan and Taiwan.

Taiwan’s defense ministry says China flew 39 warplanes within its air defense identification zone Sunday, the largest deployment of its kind this year in a constant pressure campaign by China against the self-ruled island.

The ministry says the warplanes that entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) included several fighter jets, four electronic warfare aircraft and a bomber. Taiwan’s air force scrambled several of its fighters to confront the Chinese warplanes, and the military tracked them on its air defense radar systems.

There was no immediate comment from Beijing on the reported incursion.

Sunday’s incursion was the largest since China sent 56 warplanes into Taiwan’s ADIZ back on October 4. The operation was conducted just days after the United States and Japan conducted a joint naval exercise in the Philippine Sea, a vast area that includes waters just east of Taiwan.

Beijing considers the island as part of its territory even though it has been self-governing since the end of China’s civil war in 1949, when Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist forces were driven off the mainland by Mao Zedong’s Communists. China has vowed to bring the island under its control by any means necessary, including a military takeover.

China has repeatedly deployed warplanes and naval vessels near Taiwan since the 2016 election of President Tsai Ing-wen, who has rejected Beijing’s “one China” policy.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse.