Taiwan scrambles fighters to intercept Chinese jets entering airspace for second day

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A spokesman for Taiwan’s defence ministry said its aircraft were able to quickly track the “enemy’s movement”. The latest incursion prompted the island’s defence ministry to call on China to stop “destroying regional peace” across the sensitive Taiwan Strait.

The defence ministry urges the China not to repeatedly destroy regional peace and stability

Taiwan defence ministry spokesman

China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, has held numerous military exercises up and down its coast and near the island in recent weeks.

The defence ministry said Su-30 fighters and Y-8 transport aircraft were among the Chinese warplanes that entered Taiwan’s air identification zone to its southwest today.

A spokesman said: “The defence ministry once again urges the Chinese Communist Party not to repeatedly destroy regional peace and stability.”

The latest moves come a day after multiple Chinese Su-30 and J-10 fighters entered Taiwan’s “response zone”.

The spokesman said Taiwan’s armed forces are able to respond quickly and appropriately to such movements and called on islanders not to be alarmed.

Taiwan’s Liberty Times newspaper said the country issued 24 verbal warnings over the radio for the Chinese aircraft to leave.

Taiwan has repeatedly complained that China, which has not ruled out the use of force to bring the democratic island under its control, has stepped up military threats in recent months as the world tackles the coronavirus pandemic.

Beijing routinely says such exercises are not unusual and are designed to show its determination to defend its sovereignty.

Taiwan is carrying out live fire weapons tests off its southeast and eastern coast.

President Tsai Ing-wen has warned of a rising risk of accidental conflict over in the disputed South China Sea and around Taiwan, saying communication must be maintained to cut the risk of miscalculation.

In late August, Ms Tsai promised to defend the island with a “solid” air force as she launched a maintenance centre backed by the US for the island’s fleet of upgraded F-16 fighters.

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 jets, the largest in Asia.

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In recent days, China has also been angered over the announcement by the US that it will establish a new bilateral economic dialogue with Taiwan.

US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Stilwell said Washington was intensifying support to the island because of the “increasing threat posed by Beijing to peace and stability in the region”.

Taiwan has also opened its doors to pro-democracy activists who fled Hong Kong following China’s imposition of the new national security law.

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