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Taiwan reports multiple Chinese fighters to its southwest

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Multiple Chinese fighter jets entered airspace to Taiwan’s southwest on Wednesday, said the island’s defence ministry, describing it as a destabilising action which threatened regional peace.

Taiwan, claimed by China as its own territory, has repeatedly complained of Chinese military activities near the island, including regular air force patrols. China says such drills demonstrate its resolve to protect its sovereignty.

China has in the last few weeks mounted numerous exercises up and down its coast and near Taiwan.

Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said the Chinese Su-30 and J-10 fighters had entered Taiwan’s “response zone” to its southwest on Wednesday morning, adding that multiple aircraft were involved.

“The Defence Ministry solemnly condemns the Chinese Communist’s unilateral actions that damage regional peace and stability,” it added.

Taiwan’s armed forces are able to respond quickly and appropriately to such movements, the military said, calling on people not to be alarmed.

Taiwan’s Liberty Times newspaper said Taiwan issued 24 verbal warnings over the radio for the Chinese aircraft to leave.

Taiwan is currently carrying out live fire weapons tests off its southeast and eastern coast.

There was no immediate comment from China.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen warned last month that the risk of accidental conflict was rising because of tension in the South China Sea and around Taiwan and communication must be maintained to reduce the risk of miscalculation.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Yimou Lee; Editing by Michael Perry

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