TAIPEI (Reuters) – Chinese fighter jets approached Taiwan for the second straight year on Thursday, the island’s defense ministry said, urging China to stop “destroying regional peace” in an attempt to further escalate tensions in the sensitive strait.
China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, has carried out numerous military exercises along its coast and near the island in recent weeks.
The Department of Defense said Su-30 fighters and Y-8 transport planes were among the Chinese planes entering Taiwan’s southwest air identification zone on Thursday morning.
“The Ministry of Defense again urged the Chinese Communist Party not to repeatedly destroy peace and stability in the region,”
Taiwan has messed up planes to intercept the Chinese planes, the ministry added, saying it is able to quickly track “enemy movement”.
China’s Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Taiwan has repeatedly complained that China, which has not ruled out the use of force to take control of the democratic island, has increased military threats in recent months as the world battles the coronavirus pandemic.
Beijing routinely says that such exercises are not uncommon and are intended to show its determination to defend its sovereignty.
Taiwan conducts Livefire weapons tests off its southeast and east coasts.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen warned of an increasing risk of accidental conflict in and around the disputed South China Sea and said communications must be maintained to reduce the risk of miscalculations.
Reporting by Yimou Lee and Ben Blanchard; Arrangement by Michael Perry