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Taiwan monitors Chinese missile frigates near southeast coast

Presence of ships follows intrusions by 24 Chinese military aircraft

A Chinese frigate during RIMPAC exercises in 2016. (Wikicommons, Ace Rheaume photo) 

A Chinese frigate during RIMPAC exercises in 2016. (Wikicommons, Ace Rheaume photo) 

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of National Defense said it was monitoring a Chinese missile frigate close to Taiwan’s southeast coast Friday (Sept. 24), the day after 24 Chinese warplanes entered Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).

The intensive military activity by the communist country was widely seen as a response to Taiwan’s announcement Wednesday (Sept. 22) that it had filed an application for membership of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade group.

In addition to being the third highest amount of planes in one day, at least three of the aircraft intruded into Taiwan’s ADIZ from the southeast instead of the southwest, CNA reported.

The first sighting of a Chinese missile frigate occurred around 3 a.m. Thursday, 40 nautical miles (74 km) east of Hualien County. As it was sailing south, estimates were that it would pass through the Bashi Channel separating the Philippines from Taiwan.

Precisely one day later, at 3 a.m. Friday, another missile frigate from the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) was identified 116 nautical miles east of Taitung County’s Green Island, but by morning it had left the area. Taiwan’s Navy sent patrol ships to observe, while Mirage 2000 fighter jets at Taitung’s Zhihang Air Force Base for training also served to keep an eye on the country’s southeast region, reports said.

A military spokesman said the airspace and seas around Taiwan are being closely monitored for any activity, necessary measures had been taken and the situation was now normal.