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China sends 71 warplanes toward Taiwan after US passes defense bill

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(HONG KONG) — China on Monday flew 71 warplanes into Taiwan’s air defense zone, as part of a drill that included 47 planes crossing the de-facto maritime border between the mainland and the island.

The 47 aircraft crossed the median line in the Taiwan Strait, entering into Taiwan’s southwest air defense zone at about 6 a.m. local time, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said.

President Joe Biden on Dec. 23 signed the National Defense Authorization Act for 2023, a bill that included funding for Taiwan, along with support for its “meaningful participation” in the international community.

Officials from China’s People Liberation Army said Monday’s military drills were in response to a “provocation” from the U.S. and Taiwan.

“This is a resolute response to the current US-Taiwan escalation and provocation,” the Chinese PLA Eastern Theater said in a statement.

The statement added, “The theater troops will take all necessary measures to resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Taiwan’s military forces “have monitored the situation” and tasked “aircraft, Navy vessels and land-based missile systems to respond [to] these activities,” officials said on Twitter.

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