Taiwan urged China to exercise restraint after Chinese jets allegedly violated Taiwan’s airspace during joint naval-air exercises 90 nautical miles (166km) off the coast of the island nation.
“Taiwan urged China to exercise restraint to maintain regional stability,” daily Taipei Times quoted a statement from the island nation’s Defense Ministry.
Addressing a news conference on Thursday evening, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry official Yang Ching said Chinese fighter jets “crossed” into Taiwan’s southwestern air defense identification zone on Wednesday – the day drill kicked off. The alleged air space violations continued on Thursday.
Calling on the “like-minded nations to recognize the threat” that Beijing poses, the ministry official urged the People’s Liberation Army of China to “exercise restraint and for the Chinese Communist Party to be a peacemaker and maintain regional stability”.
Chinese navy and air force are holding a military drill in Taiwan Strait where SU-30s, J-10s and Y-8 jets are accompanying the navy vessels.
The Taiwanese ministry claimed the Chinese forces were “seen” off the coast of China’s Fujian and Guangdong provinces as the Chinese Navy was “detected” north of the Pratas Islands, also called Dongsha Islands, while it denied that Chinese forces had encircled the islands.
The Chinese joint military drill came after US surveillance jets were seen in the region.
Taiwan, officially known as the Republic of China, denies Beijing’s claims that it is a “breakaway province” and insists on being recognized as an independent state. At least 16 countries recognize it as such and have formal diplomatic relations with Taipei.