Chinese military aircraft have flown over Taiwan, ratcheting up tension on the autonomous island and leading analysts to suggest that it could precede an attack by Beijing, which has been upset by Taipei’s growing ties with the US.

Beijing considers Taiwan to be its sovereign territory and wants the island, which has in effect been independent since 1950, to be reunited with the mainland. Taiwan is a democratic, self-governing nation with its own army and president, Tsai Ing-wen.

The US has a policy of deliberate ambiguity towards the island but maintains relations with Taiwanese people and has commercial interests there. Washington uses the phrase “governing authorities on Taiwan” to describe its government.

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