Taipei: China conducted its first significant military drills around the island this year on Sunday, sending 28 aircraft across the Taiwan Strait's middle line, CNN reported citing the Defence Ministry of Taiwan.

The 57 aircraft that were sighted near Taiwan included the 28 People's Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft, according to the ministry. They also included J-10, J-11, J-16, and Su-30 fighters, H-6 bombers, three drones, and an early warning and reconnaissance aircraft.

In order to respond to the Chinese incursion, Taiwan's naval vessels, aircrafts and land-based missile systems were put on alert, the ministry said.

A chart given by the ministry shows PLA aircraft flying across Taiwan's Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) south of the island, passing the median line seven times from north to south, before heading slightly northeast to the east of the line, CNN reported.

The Chinese military on Sunday issued a statement online saying that forces engaged in combat drills around Taiwan.

"The exercise focused on land strikes, sea assaults and other subjects, aiming to test the troops' joint combat capability and resolutely counter the collusive and provocative acts of the external forces and the 'Taiwan independence' separatist forces," according to a statement posted on the state-run China Military Online by PLA's Eastern Theater Command, according to CNN.

On January 2, as many as 24 Chinese military aircraft and four naval ships breached Taiwan's air defence identification zone (ADIZ), reported Taiwan News.

The Ministry of National Defence (MND) tracked 24 Chinese military aircraft and four naval vessels around Taiwan between 6 am Saturday (December 31) and 6 am on Sunday (January 1).

Taiwan used aircraft, naval ships, and land-based missile systems to monitor People's Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft and vessels, reported Taiwan News.

Four Shenyang J-11 fighter jets, four Chengdu J-10 fighter planes, and four Shenyang J-16 fighter jets crossed the median line.

Meanwhile, one Shaanxi Y-8 anti-submarine warfare plane, one Harbin BZK-005 reconnaissance drone, and one BZK-007 reconnaissance drone were monitored in the southwest corner of Taiwan's ADIZ, reported Taiwan News.

Since September 2020, China has increased its use of grey zone tactics by routinely sending aircraft into Taiwan's air defence identification zone.

Despite never having had authority over it, China views Taiwan an island home to 24 million people and administered democratically, as being a part of its territory.

It has long pledged to use force if necessary to "reunify" the island with the Chinese mainland.