The Philippines and Taiwan sounded alarm bells after detecting dozens of suspected Chinese vessels and aircraft across the South China Sea on Friday.
“To undermine the Taiwanese public’s faith in the ability of the armed forces to protect the island’s sovereignty, China’s near-daily aerial and naval incursions will probably increase in number and intensity over the course of the coming year,” Craig Singleton, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told Fox News Digital.
The Taiwanese Ministry of National Defense issued a statement saying that it had detected 37 People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft and six PLA Navy vessels around Taiwan at around 6 a.m.
An update noted that 12 of the aircraft had crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait and entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone.
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The island responded by dispatching aircraft and naval vessels to monitor the Chinese crafts.
Around the same time, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) issued a statement claiming that a patrol aircraft had spotted at least 26 suspected Chinese “maritime militia vessels” during a flyover of the South China Sea.
The vessels were spotted within the Philippine exclusive economic zone, which the Philippines has exclusive rights to the sea resources, Radio Free Asia reported.
The plane “received inaudible radio challenges, both in English and Chinese from CCG-5304 [a Chinese vessel] currently continuing to maintain presence in the area,” the PCG said in a statement.