Chinese fighter jets buzz Taiwan again, stoking tensions
TAIPEI (Reuters) - Chinese Air Force planes approached Taiwan for the fifth time in 10 days on Thursday before being warned by Taiwanese fighters, the island's Air Force said to further exacerbate tensions in the sensitive Taiwan Strait.
Chinese fighter jets J-10 and J-11 flew to the southwestern part of Taiwan's air defense zone in the morning, the Taiwan Air Force said in a statement.
Taiwanese fighters, who regularly patrol the airspace around the island claimed by China, warned the Chinese planes by radio, leaving the Taiwan Air Defense Zone without further details.
Since June 9, China's Air Force has flown at least four similar missions and has been driven out by Taiwanese jets each time, according to the Taiwan's military.
Taiwan has complained that China, which claims the democratic island, has increased its military activities in recent months and threatens Taiwan, even when the world is dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
China has not publicly commented on the last week of the Chinese Air Force's activities near Taiwan. Beijing routinely says that such exercises are not uncommon and should show the country's determination to defend its sovereignty.
China has never used violence to bring Taiwan under its control. One of China's oldest generals said last month that China would attack if there was no other way to prevent Taiwan's independence.
China is deeply suspicious of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who accuses it of being a separatist who wants to declare formal independence. Tsai says Taiwan is already an independent country called the Republic of China, its official name.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; editor of Simon Cameron-Moore)
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