14:51 GMT30 October 2020
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    Nuclear-capable bombers in China’s People’s Liberation Army-Air Force carried out a “sacred” military patrol encircling Taiwan, the military announced Thursday.

    "The motherland is in our hearts, and the jeweled island is in the bosom of the motherland," pilot Zhai Peisong said in a statement published on the PLA Air Force's microblog, adding, "defending the beautiful rivers and mountains of the motherland is the sacred mission of air force pilots."

    The statement indicated that H-6K bombers conducted another patrol mission around "the jeweled island" of Taiwan "recently."

    The Taiwanese Defense Ministry confirmed Thursday that on Wednesday afternoon, a pair of PLA Air Force H-6K bombers traveled over the Miyako Strait to the north of Taiwan before looping south and passing over the Bashi Channel en route to base.

    Taipei blamed Beijing for escalating regional tensions with military threats, though in the eyes of the Chinese government, the self-ruling island is Chinese territory.

    China's Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang told reporters that "independence separatist activities" presented the biggest threat to maritime security in the Taiwan Strait. "No force and no person should underestimate our resolve and strong ability to defend the nation's sovereignty and territorial integrity," the office said Thursday.

    "China has deliberately manipulated [the exercise] to pressure and harass Taiwan in an attempt to spark tensions between the two sides and in the region," Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council spokesman Chiu Chiu-cheng told reporters the same day, adding that Taipei "will never bow down to any military threat or incentive."


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