China stages combat patrols over Taiwan Strait

TEHRAN, Mar. 31 (MNA) – Several Chinese aircraft have reportedly conducted combat readiness patrols over the Taiwan Strait in what is seen as a response to Chinese Taipei President Tsai Ing-wen's visit to the United States.

Taiwan's defense ministry said in a statement on Friday that nine Chinese aircraft crossed at points in the north, center, and south of the Strait's median line, which used to serve as an unofficial buffer between the two sides.

Taiwan's armed forces responded using its own aircraft and ships to monitor the situation using the principle of "not escalating conflicts or causing disputes," the ministry said.

Accusing China of creating tension in the Taiwan Strait, the self-ruled island's ministry condemned the purported drills as "irrational actions.”

A senior Taiwan official familiar with security planning told Reuters the Chinese aircraft had only "slightly" encroached across the median line, and that no unusual movements by Chinese ships had been spotted.

The Chinese military has not yet commented on or confirmed the reported aerial drills over the Taiwan Strait.

Tsai arrived in the United States on Wednesday, stopping off on her way to Central America. She is expected to meet McCarthy in Los Angeles on her way back to Taipei on April 5, with China on Wednesday threatening unspecified retaliation if that meeting goes ahead.

On her first US stopover since 2019, Tsai claimed at an event held by the Hudson Institute think tank in New York on Thursday that the blame for rising tensions in and around the Taiwan Strait lies with China.

MNA/Press TV

News Code 198922


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