Chinese military ships enter waters near Kinmen Islands

Taiwan's coast guard authorities say two Chinese military ships navigated in waters near the Kinmen Islands, which Taiwan effectively controls.

Taiwan's Coast Guard Administration announced on Saturday that the Chinese ships intruded into what it calls "restricted waters" on the south side of the islands on Wednesday.

Taiwanese authorities ban Chinese ships from entering the area without permission. In Wednesday's incident, patrol boats were dispatched to warn the Chinese vessels to leave, but the ships reportedly navigated in the waters for about 40 minutes.

The Taiwan Army's Kinmen Defense Command says it monitors all movements in the area and reacted appropriately for the level of threat.

Chinese authorities began asserting a clearer stance of denying Taiwan's jurisdiction over the waters after two Chinese fishers who were illegally operating near the islands in February died when their boat capsized while being pursued by Taiwan's coast guard.

Since then Chinese ships, including Coast Guard vessels, have frequently been observed intruding into the waters on the Taiwanese side. But there were no reports until recently of Chinese military ships entering the area.

The Chinese military last week conducted drills around Taiwan's main island and also around Kinmen and other remote islands. Military vessels navigated into waters off the Kinmen Islands for the first time, prompting Taiwan to step up its alert level.