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Taiwan condemns Chinese exercises as 'severe threat' to security

Taiwan’s military says China conducted drills on Wednesday and Thursday with more than 30 military aircraft and seven warships. Photo by Taiwan Presidential Office/EPA-EFE
Taiwan’s military says China conducted drills on Wednesday and Thursday with more than 30 military aircraft and seven warships. Photo by Taiwan Presidential Office/EPA-EFE

Sept. 11 (UPI) -- Taiwan is urging China to exercise restraint following the flight of Beijing's military aircraft off the coast of Taiwan, actions that endanger international commercial flights, according to Taipei.

Taiwan's ministries of national defense and foreign affairs condemned a joint naval-air exercise 90 miles from the Taiwanese coast that has involved dozens of Chinese military aircraft in Taiwan's Air Defense Identification Zone, Taipei Times and Taiwan's Central News Agency reported Friday.

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In separate press briefings late Thursday, the ministries held the Chinese Communist Party responsible for the unprecedented drills that are being interpreted as provocations from Beijing.

According to Taiwan's military, China conducted drills Wednesday and Thursday with more than 30 military aircraft. Seven Chinese warships were also training in waters southwest of Taiwan.

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Taipei said the military aircraft entered Taiwan's ADIZ 21 times in the span of two days. Chinese troops exercised in an area only about 100 miles from Taiwanese territory, Taipei's military said, including photos of the Chinese weapons in the briefing on Thursday.

Taiwan's Deputy Defense Minister Chang Che-ping said the incursions into Taiwan's ADIZ represent a "severe threat" to Taiwan's air defense and regional stability.

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"The actions of the Chinese military have already caused resentment among the people of Taiwan," Taipei said.

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Foreign ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou said China's threat could expand to other countries.

"Today, the People's Liberation Army has chosen to conduct exercises near Taiwan. Tomorrow, it may engage in similar threats near other countries," Ou said.

"Taiwan does not seek confrontation, but neither will it back down."

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Chinese planes have increased their presence in the Taiwan Strait this year as the Chinese government condemned U.S. diplomacy with Taiwan.

In August, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar visited Taiwan, the highest-level U.S. official visit since 1979.

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