Taiwan on Tuesday called on China to withdraw, accusing it of threatening the peace after recent incursions and a Beijing official openly refusing a largely respected sea border.

Foreign Minister Joseph Wu urged Beijing to “return to civilized international standards” after a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said there was no so-called cross-strait axis “since Taiwan is an inseparable part of Chinese territory.”

The tensions between China and the island of Beijing are at their highest level for years. The Taiwanese fighter planes tried to intercept the Chinese planes last week.

“The center line has been a symbol of preventing military conflict and maintaining peace and stability in the strait for many years,” Wu told reporters.

“The comment from the Chinese Foreign Ministry corresponds to the destruction of the status quo.”

“I urge the international community to condemn the CCP for its dangerous and provocative words and deeds that threaten peace … China must pull back,” he added on a social media post.

The latest development comes as Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Tuesday praised the “heroic performance” of Air Force pilots in intercepting Chinese jets approaching the island.

“I have great faith in you. As soldiers of the ROC, how can we keep enemies roaming in our own airspace?” Tsai said using Taiwan’s official name when visiting a large military base in Penghu.

“Almost daily ideas”

The base that now houses the F-CK-1 Ching-Kuo – aircraft commonly known as the Indigenous Defense Fighters (IDF) that first entered service in 1997 – is at the forefront of Taiwan’s response to Chinese military intervention .

On Tuesday, Wang Chia-chu, a senior officer in IDF Heavenly Colt, told Reuters that Chinese planes would only have five minutes to fight their fighters once they were spotted.

“We will defend our airspace in real time while there is a threat,” said Wang.

Another executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the news agency that the IDFs were now mixed up “almost every day” due to mounting tensions.

China regards Taiwan as part of its territory that must be forcibly taken if necessary, despite the fact that the island has been self-ruled for more than 70 years.

Beijing has put pressure on the democratic island since the election of President Tsai in 2016, who rejects its view that Taiwan is part of “one China”.

Last year, Taiwan accused China of violating a long-standing tacit agreement after its fighter jets crossed the centerline of the waters that separated the two sides for the first time in years.

Washington’s increased contact with Taiwan under President Donald Trump has become another hotspot in Beijing as the U.S. and China clash on a number of trade and security issues, as well as the coronavirus pandemic.

In the past few months, Taiwan has reported a sharp surge in incursions into the air defense zone by Chinese fighter planes.

Al Jazeera and news agencies


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