TAIPEI (Reuters) -Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council on Friday urged China not to change the “status quo” around waters near Taiwan-controlled Kinmen islands by sending coast guard boats into restricted areas.

“The current situation across the Strait should be controllable,” the council’s deputy head and spokesperson Jan Jyh-horng told a press conference.

Beijing last month began regular coast guard patrols around the Taiwan-controlled Kinmen islands, which hug the Chinese coast, after two Chinese fishermen died trying to flee Taiwan’s coast guard.

China claims democratically-governed Taiwan as its own territory, over the island’s strong objections. It has in recent years increased military activities near Taiwan, including almost-daily incursions into the island’s air defence identification zones.

China said this week it would boost its defence spending by 7.2% this year, fuelling a military budget that has more than doubled under President Xi Jinping’s 11 years in office as Beijing hardens its stance on Taiwan.

(Reporting by Yimou Lee; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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