China launched fighter aircraft in reaction to a US Navy plane travelling in international airspace over the Taiwan Strait on Thursday.

According to a US Navy statement, a US Navy P-8A Poseidon flew through the Taiwan Strait on Thursday.

“By operating within the Taiwan Strait in accordance with international law, the United States upholds the navigational rights and freedoms of all nations,” according to the statement. “The aircraft’s transit of the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to an open and free Indo-Pacific.”

Officials from the Navy concluded the announcement by saying, “The United States military flies, sails, and operates anywhere international law allows.”

China has also intensified its rhetoric on the subject.

According to a Chinese military statement, “troops in the theatre are always on high alert and will resolutely defend national sovereignty and security, as well as regional peace and stability.” According to the People’s Liberation Army Eastern Theatre Command, fighter jets were rushed to monitor and alert US Navy aircraft.

China’s reaction to the US plane’s flying occurred during a meeting between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chinese ambassador Wang Yi in Jakarta during the Southeast Asian Nations summit. China has increased its military presence in international waters near the Taiwan Strait in recent years. On June 21, a Chinese aircraft carrier group cruised through the area.

On June 8, dozens of Chinese military planes launched 37 missions against Taiwan’s air defence. China maintains its claim to Taiwan, even threatening to seize it militarily if necessary.

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