China sends jets and bombers near Taiwan as Beijing opposes island's trade deal bid
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Nuclear-capable bombers entered air defence zone, says Taipei, amid simmering row over competing bids to join regional trade agreement
China has voiced opposition to Taiwan joining a major trans-Pacific trade deal as it flew 24 planes – including two nuclear-capable bombers – into the self-ruled island's air defence zone, the biggest incursion in weeks, Taiwanese officials said.

Last week Beijing submitted its own application to become a member of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Taiwan has lobbied for years to join and announced on Thursday that it had officially applied to be part of the CPTPP, which was signed by 11 Asia-Pacific countries in 2018 and is the region's biggest free-trade pact, accounting for around 13.5% of the global economy.

"Taiwan can't be left out in the world and has to integrate into the regional economy," cabinet spokesman Lo Ping-cheng said. But China, which claims self-ruled democratic Taiwan as its own territory, insisted Taipei should not be allowed in.

On the same day, Taiwanese officials said 24 Chinese planes – including 18 fighter jets and two nuclear-capable bombers – crossed into the island's air defence identification zone.

"We firmly oppose any country having official exchanges with Taiwan and firmly oppose the Taiwan region's accession to any official treaties or organisations," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said.

Taiwan responded by saying China…
Guardian staff reporter
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