China’s fighter jets turned to Taiwan for the second consecutive day on Thursday, the island’s Ministry of Defense said, urging China to stop “destroying regional peace” in further intensifying tensions in the sensitive Taiwan Strait.
China, which claims Taiwan as its territory, has conducted several military exercises in recent weeks near its coast and island.
The Ministry of Defense said the Su-30 fighter aircraft and Y-8 transport aircraft were among the Chinese aircraft that entered its airspace in Taiwan’s aerial detection zone on Thursday morning.
“The Ministry of Defense should not once again urge the Chinese Communist Party to destroy regional peace and stability,” he said, noting that the maneuver triggered antipathy among Taiwanese people.
The ministry said Taiwan flew the aircraft to intercept Chinese planes, saying it was able to quickly track “enemy movements”.
|Taiwan may be flex military amid China tensions|
China’s Ministry of Defense did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Taiwan has repeatedly complained that China, which has not ruled out using force to bring the democratic island under its control, has increased military threats in recent months as the world tackles the coronovirus epidemic.
‘Solid air force’
Beijing routinely states that such practices are not uncommon and are designed to show determination to protect its sovereignty.
Taiwan is testing live-fire weapons from its southeast and east coast.
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen has warned of an increased risk of contingent conflict around the disputed South China Sea and Taiwan, saying that communication should be maintained to reduce it.
In late August, Tsai promised to protect the island with a “solid” air force as it started a maintenance center supported by the United States for the island’s fleet of advanced F-16 fighter jets.
The US last year approved an $ 8bn sale of F-16s to Taiwan, a deal that would increase the size of the island’s F-16 fleet to more than 200 of Asia’s largest jets.
In recent times, China has also resented the US announcement that it will establish a new bilateral economic dialogue with Taiwan.
The US Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, David Stillwell, said Washington is increasing support for the island because of the “growing threat by Beijing to peace and stability in the region”.
Taiwan has also opened its doors to pro-democracy activists, who fled to Hong Kong after China’s new national security law was enacted, which critics say is the end of freedom of expression in a semi-autonomous Chinese city.