Taiwan’s defense ministry said it detected 57 Chinese fighter jets during the exercise, its second within a month. China says the exercise served to prepare for “provocative actions by outside forces and the separatist forces in Taiwan.”

    China regards Taiwan as a renegade region that must eventually come back under the authority of the People’s Republic. In 2022, relations deteriorated as China held large-scale military exercises near the island in protest of a visit by Nancy Pelosi, then Speaker of the US House of Representatives, in August. In December, the US Congress approved another 10 billion dollars (almost 10 billion euros) in military aid and arms sales to Taiwan.

    “Taiwan’s position is clear,” President Tsai Ing-wen’s office said Monday. “We will not inflame conflict or provoke friction, but we will firmly defend our independence and security.”

    LOOK. Chinese leader Xi Jinping vows to “fight against separatism” in Taiwan