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Chinese military aircraft cross into Taiwan airspace: Taipei

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This handout photo taken and released on February 10, 2020 by Taiwan’s Defence Ministry shows a Taiwanese F-16 fighter jet flying next to a Chinese H-6 bomber (top) in Taiwan’s airspace. – Taiwan said it scrambled fighter jets on February 10 after Chinese military aircraft briefly crossed into its airspace, the first major military provocation since the island’s Beijing-wary president was re-elected in a landslide. (Photo by Handout / Taiwan’s Defence Ministry / AFP) / 

Taiwan said it scrambled fighter jets Monday after Chinese military aircraft briefly crossed into its airspace, the first major incursion since the island’s Beijing-wary president was re-elected in January.

Taiwan’s defence ministry said Chinese H-6 bomber and accompanying aircraft briefly crossed over a “median line” in the Taiwan Strait

It was only the second time Chinese aircraft crossed the largely respected line dividing the two sides in the strait since March last year.

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The aircraft returned to Chinese airspace after “our fighter jets took appropriate responsive and interceptive measures and broadcast warnings to leave”, the ministry said in a statement.

It did not specify how many and what type of Chinese aircraft had crossed the median line.

Last March, two Chinese J-11 fighter jets crossed over the line for the first time in years, prompting Taipei to accuse Beijing of violating a long-held tacit agreement in a “reckless and provocative” incursion.

China has ramped up the number of fighter and warship crossings near Taiwan or through the strait since President Tsai Ing-wen was first elected in 2016.

Her government refuses to acknowledge that Taiwan is part of “one China”.

In December, shortly before elections, a newly commissioned Chinese aircraft carrier sailed through the Taiwan Strait for a second time.

The Shandong, China’s first domestically built carrier, also traversed the strait in November, sparking concerns from Washington’s de facto embassy in Taiwan.

Tsai won a second term in a landslide in January in an outcome seen as a forceful rebuke of Beijing’s ongoing campaign to isolate the island.

China still sees the self-ruling democratic island as part of its territory and vows to one day seize it, by force if necessary.

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