According to China, Taiwanese exercises are said to improve combat skills
TAIPEI (Reuters) – A second day of Chinese military exercises near Taiwan aims to improve combat capabilities, the People's Liberation Army said after the Taiwan Air Force attempted to intercept Chinese jets that briefly crossed the Taiwan Strait midline.
Tensions between China and the island have increased since Sunday when Taiwanese F-16 shadowed Chinese fighters and bombers flying around the island. Beijing claims that Taiwan is its territory, which must be taken by force if necessary.
On Monday, Taiwan's Air Force fought after Chinese jets briefly crossed an unofficial cross-strait in the Taiwan Strait, where the armed forces of both sides generally remain on their respective sides.
In a late Monday statement, the Eastern Theater Command informed the People's Liberation Army that its armed forces had "carried out air strikes and fire support exercises to further refine and test their multi-purpose combat capabilities."
China has stepped up such measures since Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen took office in 2016 and believes that it wants to push for the island's formal independence, a red line for China.
Tsai, who won re-election last month from a landslide on a resistance movement platform against China, says Taiwan is an independent country called the Republic of China.
China's Eastern Theater Command said that "Taiwanese independence forces have ignored national justice and strengthened their quest for independence."
"The theater troops always maintain a high level of vigilance, monitor the situation closely and carry out their tasks consistently," the statement continues.
Taiwan has denounced the exercises as a threat to peace in the region and has stated that the island will not give in to the threats from China.
Tsai said on Monday that China should focus on fighting the new coronavirus outbreak rather than threatening the island.
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