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Chinese aircraft entered Taiwan air defense zone a day after military budget boost

TAIPEI

Taiwan’s air force scrambled on Friday (Sept 17) to warn away 10 Chinese aircraft that entered its air defence zone, Taiwan’s defence ministry said, the day after the island announced a US$9 billion (S$12 billion) boost to military spending to counter the threat from China.

Chinese-claimed Taiwan has complained about a year or more of repeated missions by China’s air force near the democratically governed island, often within the southwestern a part of its air defence zone on the brink of the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands.

The latest Chinese mission involved 6 J-16 and 2 J-11 fighters plus one anti-submarine and one reconnaissance aircraft, the Taiwan ministry said.

Taiwan sent combat aircraft to warn away the Chinese aircraft, while missile systems were deployed to watch them, the ministry said.

The Chinese fighters flew in a region near the Pratas, while the anti-submarine and reconnaissance aircraft flew into the Bashi Channel that separates Taiwan from the Philippines, consistent with a map that the ministry issued.

There was no immediate comment from China.

The incident came each day after Taiwan proposed extra defence spending of $8.69 billion over subsequent five years, including on new missiles, warning of an urgent got to upgrade weapons within the face of a “severe threat” from China.

Speaking earlier on Friday, Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang said the govt had to require the threat from China seriously.

“The Chinese Communists plot against us constantly,” he said.

Taiwan’s defence spending “is supported safeguarding national sovereignty, national security, and national security. We must not relax. We must have the simplest preparations in order that no war will occur”, he added.

China’s government, for its part, criticised Taiwan secretary of state Joseph Wu on Friday for comments in the week during which he said Taiwan was a “sea fortress” blocking China’s expansion into the Pacific.

Wu’s “aim is to deceive popular opinion, to rope in and collude with anti-China foreign forces”, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said in a statement.

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