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Taiwan. Chinese fighters crossed the median line again, Taipei scrambled a warning plane

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Ten Chinese machines crossed the so-called median line, i.e. the unofficial line separating the air operations zones between China and Taiwan over the Taiwan Strait. In response, Taipei scrambled a fighter jet, the Taiwanese defense ministry said.

In the space of 24 hours from Friday to Saturday, nine Chinese fighter jets and one military drone crossed the median line, the Taiwanese ministry said in its daily report on Chinese military activities.

In response, Taiwanese authorities scrambled a fighter jet to warn Chinese pilots against further encroachment on the border. At the same time, hostile machines monitored Taiwanese missile systems, the ministry added.

The median line is considered to be an informal border of military activity between China and Taiwan, beyond which the opening of fire by the anti-aircraft defense of the other side is allowed.

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Chinese Shenyang J-16 fighterMinistry of National Defence

The day before, nine Chinese warplanes had crossed the median line in the Taiwan Strait at several locations in the north, in the center and in the south, the Taiwanese defense ministry said on Friday. The machines, the type of which has not been made public, allegedly committed the violations while carrying out combat-ready patrols.

SEE ALSO: Will China Hit Taiwan? “I’m expecting something very spectacular”

Chinese J-11 fighterFeature China/Future Publishing via Getty Images

The island’s authorities said Beijing’s actions “deliberately create tensions” and undermined peace and stability.

Taiwan, which China considers its territory, complains that Chinese Air Force missions have been operating near the democratically-ruled island almost daily in recent years, often invading the southwestern part of the Air Identification Zone.

Mirage-2000 fighter of the Taiwanese armed forcesReuters

Taiwanese president on tour of the Americas, Beijing threatens retaliation

Beijing has threatened unspecified retaliation if Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who is currently on a tour of the Americas, meets with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. The meeting is scheduled to take place next week in Los Angeles on Tsai’s return trip to Taipei from Central America, the Guardian reports. Taiwan’s president has already visited the US, specifically New York, on Wednesday on her way to Guatemala and Belize.

SEE ALSO: Honduras and Taiwan severed diplomatic relations. Taipei: Honduran authorities demanded billions of dollars in aid

China should not use Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s trip to the US as a pretext for aggressive action around the Taiwan Strait, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby warned on Wednesday. As he emphasized, Tsai’s visit to New York and Los Angeles will be unofficial. – The People’s Republic of China should not use this transit as a pretext to intensify any aggressive actions around the Taiwan Strait. United States and China have their differences when it comes to Taiwan, but we’ve dealt with those differences for over 40 years,” Kirby said at a White House press briefing, referring to Tsai’s visit to New York on Wednesday.

Median line in the Taiwan Strait

The median line (also: center line) in the Taiwan Strait is an unwritten border marked by the geographical center of the strait between Taiwan (Republic of China in Taiwan) and China (People’s Republic of China). It is an unofficial buffer zone between the Chinese and Taiwanese air forces that has been honored by both sides for decades.

In recent years, however, violations of this line by Beijing warplanes have become more frequent, which poses a potential risk of uncontrolled escalation. The median line as the air border was not chosen accidentally. In the 1970s, the Americans still stationed in Taiwan recognized it as a border, beyond which the island’s anti-aircraft defenses must open fire. Otherwise, enemy planes would have been able to carry out a successful attack.

Only the Taiwan Strait separates Taiwan from China

Chinese claims to Taiwan

Beijing recognizes Taiwan as part of China and seeks to take control over it, not excluding the possibility of using force. The democratically elected government in Taipei, on the other hand, believes that only the Taiwanese can decide about their future and promises to defend their freedom and democracy. Chinese authorities have repeatedly warned US officials not to meet with Taiwan’s president, saying that would be a sign of support for the island’s independence.

Taiwan is one of the key sticking points in China’s increasingly strained relationship with the US, which some commentators say has already deteriorated to its lowest point since relations were normalized in 1979. Washington does not maintain formal diplomatic relations with Taipei, but US law requires Taiwan to assist in self-defense.

Main photo source: Feature China/Future Publishing via Getty Images

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