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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo slams China's 'military blustering' after Taiwan scrambles jets

China had announced combat drills near the Taiwan Strait as US diplomat Keith Krach arrived in Taiwan on Thursday on a three-day visit.

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DNA Web Team

Updated: Sep 18, 2020, 09:53 PM IST

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US secretary of state Mike Pompeo on Friday criticised China's "military blustering" afterTaiwan scrambled jets as Chinese aircraft flew around the island crossing the mid-line of the Taiwan Strait.

"We sent the delegation to a funeral and the Chinese have apparently responded by military blustering," the US secretary of state said.

China had announced combat drills near the Taiwan Strait as US diplomat Keith Krach arrived in Taiwan on Thursday on a three-day visit.

The Chinese have stepped up military exercises near the island after witnessing the close relationship between Taipei and Washington. U.S. Undersecretary for Economic Affairs Keith Krach arrived in Taipei on Thursday for a three-day visit, the most senior State Department official to come to Taiwan in four decades which has irked the Chinese government.

China has responded to the recent meeting, saying that a "necessary response" is awaiting the island country and the United States.

Taiwan stated that  18 Chinese aircraft crossed into their airspace, far larger number than it has previously announced. Taiwan's defence ministry further showed a map of the flight paths of Chinese jets crossing the Taiwan Strait mid-line, which normally combat aircraft from both sides avoid passing through.

"Sep. 18, two H-6 bombers, eight J-16 fighters, four J-10 fighters and four J-11 fighters crossed the midline of the TaiwanStrait and entered Taiwan`s southwest ADIZ," the defence ministry said in an English-language tweet.

Krach, who arrived in Taipei on Thursday afternoon, is in Taiwan for a memorial service on Saturday for former President Lee Teng-hui, who was revered by many on the island and internationally as the father of Taiwan's democracy. Krach is expected to meet Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Friday.

Relations between China and the United States have nosedived in recent months, with disagreements over Taiwan, trade, human rights, the coronavirus pandemic and other issues.

China views Taiwan's president as a dangerous separatist. 

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has maintained that the island is already an independent country called the Republic of China, Taiwan`s formal name.

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