Chinese military sends warning to U.S., Taiwan with fighter jets

China doesn't approve of closed-door meeting between Taiwan and other countries.

Updated: September 18, 2020 - 10:30pm

The Chinese military on Friday sent 18 planes including fighter jets flying over the Taiwan Strait — an apparent attempt to show its power and dominance over Taiwan, which is hosting U.S. Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach, to Chinese disapproval. 

The diplomatic visit this week by a high-ranking U.S. official resulted in a sharp warning from China, which considers the self-governing island its own. China opposes official contacts between Taiwan and other countries and also suggested upon Krach's arrival the possibility of retaliation.

Taiwan's defense ministry said two bombers and 16 fighter jets from China crossed into Taiwan's air defense identification zone, according to the Associated Press. The defense ministry scrambled jets in response and monitored the locations of the Chinese planes.

A Chinese defense ministry spokesperson said the drills were "legitimate and necessary action taken in response to the current situation across the Taiwan Straits to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity." 

"Recently, the U.S. and (Taiwan's ruling) Democratic Progressive Party authorities have stepped up their collusion and frequently stir up troubles," Ren told reporters Friday morning. "Whether it is using Taiwan to contain China or relying on foreign powers to threaten others, it is wishful thinking and is destined to be a dead end."

The U.S. switched formal relations from Taiwan to China in 1979 but has maintained unofficial ties with Taiwan since the official diplomatic break. The U.S. is the island's most important ally and provider of defense equipment.

Krach's visit marked the second time in recent weeks in which a top U.S. official has visited Taiwan. In August, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar visited the island, sparking disapproval from China.

Earlier this week, a Chinese spokesperson said that they "urge the U.S. to … immediately stop official exchanges" with Taiwan. The tensions between the U.S. and China continue to escalate with this most recent Chinese move.

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