US commander says China missile fire over Taiwan must be contested

“If you don’t challenge it … all of a sudden it can become just like the islands in the South China Sea (that) have now become military outposts,” he said.

“They now are full functioning military outposts that have missiles on them, large runways, hangers, radars, listening posts.”

China’s communist party has never run Taiwan but it regards the island as its territory and has vowed to one day seize the island, by force if necessary.

Sabre rattling towards Taiwan have become more pronounced under Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The United States and other western allies have increased “freedom of navigation” crossings by naval vessels of both the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea to reinforce the concept that those seas are international waterways, sparking anger from Beijing.

China said it conducted new military drills on Monday as a delegation of US lawmakers visited Taipei.

State media ran footage and pictures of Taiwan’s Penghu islands purportedly taken from Chinese jets flying a short distance from the archipelago.

But Taiwan denied that Chinese jets came close to Penghu.

“The CCP used cognitive warfare and other tricks to exaggerate and show that (its jet) was close to Penghu. This is not true,” senior air force official Tung Pei-Lun told reporters on Tuesday.

The Penghu islands sit in between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan.

They host a major Taiwanese airbase and would be on the frontline of any invasion attempt by Beijing.


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