Chinese balloons over Taiwan again fuel tension ahead of presidential polls

Beijing, Dec 18 (EFE).- Taiwan has detected two Chinese balloons crossing the median line, weeks ahead of the presidential polls that Beijing is closely watching as part of an ambition to take over the self-ruled island.

The Taiwanese defense ministry said two Chinese balloons flew over the Taiwan Strait on Sunday and were detected 110 nautical miles northwest of Keelung at an altitude of approximately 27,000 feet.

“The balloons headed east and disappeared,” the ministry said on X (formerly Twitter) without specifying their type.

The state-run CNA news agency suggested they might be weather balloons.

Taiwan had reported a similar incident 10 days ago.

Earlier this year, the Taiwanese government said a Chinese balloon was found on a remote islet, apparently used for monitoring weather without audiovisual recording equipment.

Taiwan has consistently accused Beijing of using military or economic pressure to influence the outcome of its presidential elections, scheduled for Jan. 13.

Vice President William Lai, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate, maintains a stable lead in the polls, with support hovering around 30 percent.

The current term under President Tsai Ing-wen, who cannot run for a third term, has witnessed heightened tensions between Taiwan and China.

This year, Taipei reported an increase in Chinese Army incursions in its vicinity, reaching a record of 103 aircraft on Sep. 18.

Many of these aircraft breached the median line of the strait, a longstanding tacitly accepted boundary between the two that Chinese forces have increasingly disregarded.

China considers the island, governed autonomously since 1949, a breakaway part of its territory.

Beijing says it reserves the right to use force to reunify Taiwan, even though a peaceful merger would be its first choice. EFE


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