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Taipei — China sent 39 warplanes — mostly fighter jets — into Taiwan’s air defense zone on Sunday, the island’s government said, in the second-largest daily incursion on record. Taiwan lives under the constant threat of invasion by China, which sees the self-ruled, democratic island as part of its territory to eventually be reclaimed, by force if necessary.

The final quarter of 2021 saw a massive spike in incursions from China into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), with the biggest single day coming on October 4, when 56 Chinese warplanes entered the zone.

The island’s defense ministry said late Sunday it saw 39 warplanes from China enter Taiwan’s ADIZ — the second-largest number of incursions on record, which is shared with October 2 last year. It added that it scrambled its own aircraft to broadcast warnings on Sunday and deployed air defense missile systems to track the jets that entered its zone.

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