Sun, 01 Oct 2023

Taipei [Taiwan], April 1 (ANI): In a retaliatory move, Taiwan sent combat aircraft to warn away ten Chinese aircraft, which crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait, normally an unofficial barrier between the two sides, Al Jazeera reported.

Nine Chinese fighter jets and one military drone crossed the median line in the 24 hours to 6 am local time on Saturday (20:00 GMT on Friday), the ministry said in a daily report on Chinese military activities.

This comes after Beijing has threatened unspecified retaliation if Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, now travelling in Central America, meets United States House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy as she transits through the US on her trip to Latin America.

Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, has complained in recent years of almost daily missions by the Chinese air force near the democratically governed island, often in the southwestern part of its air defence identification zone.

Tsai arrived in Guatemala on Friday on a visit to shore up ties with dwindling allies after Honduras became the latest country to cut diplomatic relations with Taipei in favour of Beijing. She will also visit neighbouring Belize, Al Jazeera reported.

Tsai is expected to meet McCarthy in Los Angeles on her way back to Taipei later this month from Central America.

Washington had said there was no reason for China to "overreact" to the "normal, uneventful" trip, while Beijing warned the US was "playing with fire" over Tsai being hosted by officials in the US, Al Jazeera reported.

Meanwhile, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning in a press conference on Wednesday said, "China firmly opposes any form of official interaction between the US and the Taiwan region. We firmly oppose any visit by the leader of the Taiwan authorities to the US in any name or under whatever pretext."According to the statement released by the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Mao Ning further said, "We firmly oppose the US' having any form of contact with the Taiwan authorities, which violates the one-China principle. China has repeatedly protested to the US side on Tsai's so-called stopover in the US."Last year, China fired multiple missiles and launched military drills around Taiwan after then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island. Her visit also strained the bilateral ties between US and China.

China staged war games around Taiwan in August 2022 after then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei, and has continued military activities near Taiwan, though on a reduced scale.

So far this month, Beijing has sent 292 military aircraft and 76 naval vessels around Taiwan. Since September 2020, China has increased its use of grey zone tactics by routinely sending aircraft into Taiwan's ADIZ, reported Taiwan News.

"China stepped up their military action in early August 2022 and held its live-fire drills in six locations around the country after the US White House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan on August 2-3, 2022. (ANI)

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