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Chinese Warplanes Buzz Line Dividing Taiwan Strait Before Expected Pelosi Visit

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U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi was expected to arrive in Taipei later on Tuesday, people briefed on the matter said, as several Chinese warplanes flew close to the median line dividing the Taiwan Strait, a source told Reuters.

China has repeatedly warned against Pelosi going to Taiwan, which it claims as its own, while the United States said on Monday that it would not be intimidated by Chinese “sabre rattling”.

In addition to Chinese planes flying close to the median line of the strait, several Chinese warships sailed near the unofficial dividing line since Monday, the source told Reuters.

The source said both Chinese warships and aircraft “squeezed” the median line on Tuesday morning, an unusual move the person described as “very provocative.”

The Chinese aircraft repeatedly conducted tactical moves of briefly “touching” the median line and circling back to the other side of the strait on Tuesday morning, while Taiwanese aircraft were on standby nearby, the person said.

The Chinese planes left the area in the afternoon but the ships remained, the person said.

Neither side’s aircraft normally cross the median line.

Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said in a statement it has a full grasp of military activities near Taiwan and will appropriately dispatch forces in reaction to “enemy threats”.

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