Chinese military aircraft fly near Taiwan to join carrier for drills in Pacific

Taiwan's defense ministry says dozens of Chinese military aircraft flew near Taiwan out to the Pacific, where they joined the aircraft carrier Shandong for drills.

Ministry officials say they confirmed a total of 37 aircraft, including J-16 fighter jets, H-6 bombers, KJ-500 early warning and control aircraft, as well as drones, near Taiwan starting at around 5:20 a.m. Wednesday, local time.

They say a total of 36 of the aircraft crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait or its extension line, then flew to the south and southeast of Taiwan and entered the Western Pacific. They added the aircraft conducted joint training with the Shandong.

Japan's Defense Ministry confirmed the Shandong was spotted sailing about 520 kilometers southeast of Miyakojima Island of Japan's southern prefecture of Okinawa on Tuesday morning, escorted by Chinese military vessels, including missile destroyers.

The Taiwanese defense ministry remains on alert and is continuing surveillance, as various types of Chinese military aircraft have been flying around Taiwan on a daily basis.