Besides deploying a military show of force, China has also sent in coast guard ships and other official fishery vessels around Taiwan’s outlying island of Kinmen since February.

The most recent sighting was Tuesday, when five Chinese coast guard ships sailed through Kinmen’s “restricted waters” for three hours before leaving, Taiwan’s coast guard said.

Tuesday’s sighting was the fifth formation seen in May, which the Taiwanese coast guard said “seriously affect navigation safety and undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait”.

“We urge the Chinese side to exercise self-restraint and immediately cease this irrational behaviour,” it said.

Lai, like outgoing President Tsai Ing-wen, rejects Beijing’s claim over Taiwan.

China has condemned him and his deputy Hsiao Bi-khim – who was Taiwan’s former representative to the United States – as an “independence duo”.


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