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Taiwan warns China that asserting authority over the island risked destabilisation

CHINA's stepped up efforts to assert its authority over Taiwan risked destabilising the broader region, warned Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.

In a tweet, Ms Tsai cited Beijing's approval of commercial flights near Taiwan's de facto border over the Taiwan Strait and increased military patrols around the island, reported Bloomberg. "Cross-strait stability is important to regional stability," she said.

"Recent unilateral actions by China - including M503 flight route and increased military exercises - are destabilising and should be avoided."

Ms Tsai levelled similar criticism at a year-end news conference, in which she pledged to increase defence spending amid China's growing military activity.

On January 4 Taiwan protested China's "reckless" decision to approve four new flight routes over the strait, which it sees as the latest in a series of Chinese moves to undermine its sovereignty.

Spokesman Ma Xiaoguang for the Beijing-based Taiwan Affairs Office responded with comments that the routes were intended to relieve air congestion and urged Ms Tsai's government to "take a correct attitude, not make a fuss or hurt cross-strait ties," according to the China Times.

Taiwan has also complained about increased Chinese military activities, including "encirclement patrols" around the island. The People's Liberation Army (PLA) released a video on December 18 showing Chinese fighter jets, bombers and surveillance aircraft conducting "routine" patrols near the island. Such flights are the "new normal," the PLA air force said.

The US Congress in September authorised naval visits with Taiwan as part of a defence spending measure. Last month a senior Chinese diplomat in Washington said that China would "unify" Taiwan with military force if a US warship visited.
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