Taiwan reports largest Chinese incursion in months

Taiwan has reported the largest incursion of Chinese air force jets in months, as Beijing steps up its military activity around the island's air defense zone.

Taiwan's defense ministry said Sunday its fighters warned away over three dozen Chinese aircraft in an area close to the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands.

China, which claims Taiwan as its own, has repeatedly sent air force missions into the island's air defense zone for well over a year.

Taiwan calls those incursions "grey zone" warfare, designed to both wear out and test the island's defense forces.

It's unclear what prompted China's latest large-scale mission.

But American and Japanese naval forces have recently carried out exercises in the Philippine Sea, a vast area covering waters to the east of Taiwan.

The U.S. Pacific Fleet said Sunday two carrier strike groups were conducting training to quote "preserve and protect a free and open Indo Pacific".

China's last incursion began over the National Day holiday on October 1, when Taiwan reported nearly 150 Chinese aircraft flying through its air defense zone over a four-day period.

Beijing offered no immediate comment on Sunday's mission, but it has defended its previous incursions as necessary drills for protecting the country's sovereignty.

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