Taiwan scrambles jets, ships after ‘irrational actions’ by Chinese military
Taiwan’s defense ministry said Friday that it had to scramble jets and ships to respond to “irrational actions” by nine Chinese aircraft that crossed over the Taiwan Strait’s median line during combat readiness drills.
The incident happened while Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen is visiting the U.S.
Tsai is scheduled to meet House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Wednesday, and Beijing has threatened “resolute countermeasures” if that get together is held.
“The communist military’s deployment of forces deliberately created tension in the Taiwan Strait, not only undermining peace and stability, but also has a negative impact on regional security and economic development,” Reuters quoted Taiwan’s defense ministry as saying Friday.
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It reportedly condemned “such irrational actions” and said it responded by deploying its own aircraft and ships to monitor the situation.
“China deliberately raises tensions, but Taiwan always responds cautiously and calmly, so that the world can see that Taiwan is the responsible party in cross-Strait relations,” Tsai said in New York on Thursday, according to Reuters.
The White House said Tsai’s trip across the U.S. is “consistent” with the One China policy and is urging Beijing not to overreact.
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National Security Council Strategic Communications Director John Kirby made the statement to reporters during a press briefing at the White House on Wednesday. He pointed out that President Tsai has transited the U.S. six times since gaining office in 2016, and each incident came and went without objection from Beijing.
“There’s no reason for them to react harshly,” Kirby told reporters, before urging China not to use the incident as an excuse to escalate tensions.
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Beijing has threatened “resolute countermeasures” should Tsai follow through with a potential meeting with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy during her transit.
Beijing has repeatedly alleged the U.S. and Taiwan are acting in secret to push for Taiwan’s independence and threatened “resolute countermeasures” should the two leaders meet. Tsai is scheduled to meet McCarthy on Wednesday, April 5, when the head of the self-governing island democracy visits Los Angeles.
Fox News’ Anders Hagstrom contributed to this report.
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