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U.S. urges China to stop 'provocative' flights in Taiwan's airspace

U.S. urges China to stop 'provocative' flights in Taiwan's airspace
Taiwan's Indigenous Defense Fighter fighter jets taxi on the runway as they prepare for takeoff during an air-force drill in January. Taiwan on Sunday said 16 Chinese aircraft entered its airspace. Photo by Ritchie B. Tongo/EPA-EFE

Oct. 3 (UPI) -- The United States on Sunday accused China of "provocative" military action after it flew dozens of military planes near Taiwan's airspace.

The Taiwan Defense Ministry tweeted Sunday that 16 Chinese aircraft entered the country's air defense identification zone, or ADIZ, on Sunday, after nearly 80 aircraft had flown in the area in the prior two days.

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"The United States is very concerned by the People's Republic of China's provocative military activity near Taiwan which is destabilizing, risks miscalculations, and undermines regional peace and stability," State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement. "We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure and coercion against Taiwan."

Sunday's encounter came after Taiwan said 39 Chinese aircraft -- 20 during the day and 19 at night -- entered the ADIZ on Saturday, while 25 Chinese army planes entered the southwestern part of the air defense identification zone followed by 13 Chinese aircraft flying by the same area at night on Friday.

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Taiwan has seen itself as a sovereign state and Beijing has seen it as a breakaway province since the civil war in the 1940s where China and Taiwan were divided, and Taiwan has frequently complained about Chinese encroachment on the ADIZ in the past year.

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Price on Sunday said that the United States has an "abiding interest in peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait" and will maintain its commitments under the Three Communiques, the Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Assurances.

"The U.S. commitment to Taiwan is rock solid and contributes to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and within the region," Price said. "We will continue to stand with friends and allies to advance our shared prosperity, security and values and deepen our ties with democratic Taiwan."

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