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China could acquire ability to block Taiwan Strait in 2025: Taiwan

In this undated file photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, two Chinese SU-30 fighter jets take off from an unspecified location to fly a patrol over the South China Sea. (Jin Danhua/Xinhua via AP)

TAIPEI (Kyodo) -- Taiwan's Defense Ministry said Wednesday that China could acquire the ability to block the Taiwan Strait and its vicinity as early as 2025, posing a "grave challenge" to the self-governed island's air and sea defense operations.

    The projection was made in a report submitted to Taiwan's legislature at a time when the island's government has seen dozens of Chinese warplanes entering its air defense identification zone in recent days.

    The report said China has been making preparations centering on mounting an attack on Taiwan while continuing to expand military activities as well as "gray zone" operations that stop short of an armed attack.

    The ministry added that a total of about 380 Chinese warplanes entered the island-designated air defense identification zone last year and that over 600 Chinese military planes have done so this year.

    The report also found that China has ramped up the production of aircraft carriers, submarines and destroyers, while accelerating the formation of amphibious assault ships into a unit.

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