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A formation of H-6K bombers flying over Beijing in October 2019. Photo: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

At least 20 Chinese military aircraft entered Taiwan's air space on Friday, according to Taiwan's defense ministry.

Why it matters: It is the largest incursion by China's air force since Taiwan's defense ministry has announced almost daily Chinese military exercises into its air space, per Reuters.

  • A person familiar with Taiwan’s defense planning told Reuters that the Chinese military was simulating an operation against U.S. warships sailing through the Bashi Channel.
  • China has said the exercises are meant to show its determination to defend the island, which it considers part of Chinese territory, though Taiwan's status is one of the most sensitive political issues between Washington and Beijing.

The big picture: Friday's exercises involved four H-6K bombers, which have nuclear strike capabilities, 10 J-16 fighter jets and six other military planes.

  • Taiwan said it warned the planes by radio that they were violating its airspace and deployed air defense missile systems to "monitor the activity" of the flight after the aircraft did not change course.

Go deeper

Mar 26, 2021 - World

China retaliates after sanctions by U.K. over Xinjiang abuses

Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

China sanctioned individuals and entities in the United Kingdom on Thursday, claiming they "maliciously spread lies and disinformation" on Chinese government human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims, the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement.

Why it matters: The sanctions come after the U.S., U.K., European Union and Canada this week coordinated sanctions against Chinese officials involved in human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang region.

Updated 5 hours ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

Driving the news: U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne called the intelligence "deeply concerning" in a statement to Axios. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.

Updated 7 hours ago - Science

This powerful new accelerator looks for keys to the center of atoms

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Nuclear physicists trying to piece together how atoms are built are about to get a powerful new tool.

Why it matters: When the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams begins experiments later this spring, physicists from around the world will use the particle accelerator to better understand the inner workings of atoms that make up all the matter that can be seen in the universe.