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China sends 38 fighter planes toward Taiwan on National Day

October 1, 2021 GMT
FILE -In this undated file photo released by the Taiwan Ministry of Defense, a Chinese PLA J-16 fighter jet flies in an undisclosed location. China sent 19 fighter jets, including 12 J-16s, towards Taiwan Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021, in a large display of force, just a day after the island announced its intention to join an 11-nation Pacific trade group, which China has also applied to join. (Taiwan Ministry of Defense via AP)
FILE -In this undated file photo released by the Taiwan Ministry of Defense, a Chinese PLA J-16 fighter jet flies in an undisclosed location. China sent 19 fighter jets, including 12 J-16s, towards Taiwan Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021, in a large display of force, just a day after the island announced its intention to join an 11-nation Pacific trade group, which China has also applied to join. (Taiwan Ministry of Defense via AP)
FILE -In this undated file photo released by the Taiwan Ministry of Defense, a Chinese PLA J-16 fighter jet flies in an undisclosed location. China sent 19 fighter jets, including 12 J-16s, towards Taiwan Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021, in a large display of force, just a day after the island announced its intention to join an 11-nation Pacific trade group, which China has also applied to join. (Taiwan Ministry of Defense via AP)

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — China sent 38 fighter jets toward self-ruled Taiwan in the largest display of force this year on China’s National Day.

The People’s Liberation Army flew 25 fighter jets Friday in the first maneuver, then sent an additional 13 planes that night. Taiwan deployed air patrol forces in response and tracked the Chinese aircraft on its air defense systems, the island’s Defense Ministry said in a statement.

The first group of planes included 18 J-16 fighter jets and two H-6 bombers.

China has sent planes toward the island it claims as part of its territory on a near daily basis in the last couple of years, stepping up military harassment with drills.

Last week, China flew 24 fighter jets toward Taiwan after it announced it would apply to join a Pacific trade group that China also applied to join.

Taiwan and China split during a civil war in 1949, and China has not ruled out force to reunify with Taiwan. Beijing opposes Taiwan’s involvement in international organizations.