Taiwan jets 'drive away' intruding Chinese fighter plane, third intrusion in days

TAIPEI (Reuters) - The Taiwan Air Force jets "launched" a Chinese fighter aircraft that briefly entered Taiwan's air defense zone on Tuesday, the Department of Defense said, reporting the third intrusion in a week.
The individual J-10 fighter received radio warnings before the Taiwan Air Force jets led the intruder out of the airspace southwest of the island, the ministry said.
On Tuesday last week, the ministry announced that several Su-30 fighters, some of China's most advanced jets, had flown into the same airspace and were warned to leave the country.
On Friday, the ministry said that a Chinese Y-8, a Soviet-style propeller aircraft, some of which were upgraded as surveillance aircraft, had also been warned by the Taiwan Air Force to leave airspace in the southwest.
The Y-8 flight came a few hours after Taiwan conducted missile tests off its east coast.
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 force 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 him 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.
The United States has also increased its military activities near the island and has regularly undertaken naval flights through the narrow Taiwan Strait.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; editor of Simon Cameron-Moore)

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