Taiwan fighter jets intercept Chinese war planes in Taiwan Strait

Taiwan fighter jets intercept Chinese war planes in Taiwan Strait”

Beijing has called Taiwan "the most important and sensitive issue in China-U.S. relations" and has bolstered its military presence near the island, sailing its sole operating aircraft carrier through the Taiwan Strait in January and March of past year and holding large-scale "encirclement" exercises and bomber training throughout 2018.

Foreign Ministry Joseph Wu told reporters at the legislature that the line crossing was an intentional act, calling it a provocative and unsafe.

The Chinese fighter planes entered Taiwan's southwestern airspace at 11 a.m. and retreated to the west side of the median line after they were issued a radio warning, according to a statement issued by the MND.

China has ramped up the number of fighter and warship crossings near Taiwan or through the straits in recent years, rattling nerves on the island at a time when relations are at a low point.

Taiwan has been governed separately from the mainland since the two split amid a civil war in 1949.

The United States on Monday criticised China for attempting to undermine the status quo of the Taiwan Strait, stressing that Beijing should resume talks with the Taiwanese government.

The U.S. has no formal ties with Taiwan but is bound by law to help it defend itself and is the island's main source of arms.

China cut off all official communication with Taiwan in June 2016, one month after President Tsai Ing-wen of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party took office.

But on Sunday Taipei described the latest incursion as a deliberate act.

It pointed out that Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed in January to explore the Taiwanese version of the Hong Kong model of "one country, two systems", but he also emphasized China reserves the right to the use of force to prevent Taiwan independence. Beijing has since considered Taiwan a renegade province awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.

Observers have said that those sailings have likely been interpreted by China as implicit support for self-ruled Taiwan. In this case, unnamed analysts said Sunday's flight may be a response to American aerial and naval "freedom of navigation" operations in the Taiwan Straits, created to underscore Washington's support for Taiwanese independence.

Although the waterway is regarded as an worldwide waterway, China has always been sensitive about the presence of USA military forces there. Prior to that, the operations were believed to occur only about once a year.

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