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China condemns US military for 'provocative' flight over Taiwan

China condemns US military for 'provocative' flight over Taiwan
© Getty Images

China slammed the U.S. on Thursday after a military aircraft flew over Taiwan, over which Beijing claims authority.

Reuters reported that Chinese officials called the flight an "illegal act" and warned the U.S. against further "provocative" moves in the region.

“It was an illegal act and a seriously provocative incident,” said the country's Taiwan Affairs Office in a statement. “We express strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition.”

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China's government has long claimed authority over Taiwan. The nation is not recognized by the United Nations but its government maintains a relationship with the U.S., and does not accept Chinese authority.

The flight criticized by Chinese authorities reportedly involved a U.S. C-40A aircraft, which is similar to a Boeing 737, and came the same day Taiwanese officials were forced to warn off Chinese fighter jets that approached its airspace.

The Pentagon frequently conducts military operations near Taiwan to reassert the U.S.-Taiwan relationship, gestures that typically evoke responses from China.

U.S.-China tensions have been stressed for months due to claims from the Trump administration that Chinese officials were responsible for the spread of the coronavirus due to poor response times and a failure to share data with western health authorities.

In May, the U.S. approved a weapons sale to Taiwan, which Chinese officials responded to at the time with "solemn representations."