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Taiwan says military under pressure from China as missions mount

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan’s military has launched aircraft to intercept Chinese planes more than twice as much as all of last year, the island’s defence ministry said, describing Taiwan as facing severe security challenges from its huge neighbour.

China, which claims democratic Taiwan as its own territory, has stepped up its military activities near the island, responding to what Beijing calls “collusion” between Taipei and Washington.

In the past few weeks, Chinese fighter jets have crossed the mid-line of the Taiwan Strait, which normally serves as an official buffer between the island and the mainland, and have flown into Taiwan’s southwestern air defence identification zone.

In a report to parliament, a copy of which was reviewed by Reuters, Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said so far this year the air force had scrambled 4,132 times, up 129% compared to all of last year, according to Reuters calculations.

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