A Taiwanese warship on Friday "mistakenly" fired a supersonic "anti-ship missile" towards China as it celebrated 95th anniversary of the ruling Communist Party amid assertions by President Xi Jinping ruling out independence for Taiwan.
The "accidental launch" of the domestically developed Hsiung Feng III anti-ship missile from a naval base in Kaohsiung, south of the island, took place as Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, also commander-in-chief of the armed forces, was overseas.
"The missile was launched by operational error. We are investigating the case," Vice-Admiral Mei Chia-hsu of the Taiwanese Navy was quoted as saying by the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post.
Asked if the incident risked a misunderstanding with Beijing, Mei said the navy had reported the incident to the island's defence ministry, which would handle the case accordingly.
The missile, with a range of 300 kilometres, flew about 75 kilometres before plunging into waters off Penghu, a Taiwanese -administered island in the Taiwan Strait.
Meanwhile in Beijing, Taiwan figured prominently in a speech by President Xi to a rally to mark the 95th anniversary of the Communist Party of China (CPC), where he said China is firmly opposed to Taiwan's independence.
Xi, who is also the general secretary of the CPC, stressed the political foundation of adhering to the 1992 Consensus and opposing "Taiwan independence" to ensure the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations.
"We firmly oppose the 'Taiwan independence' secessionist activities," Xi said at the ceremony.
"More than 1.3 billion Chinese people and the whole Chinese nation will by no means tolerate secessionist activities by any person, at any time and in any form," he said.
China claims Taiwan as part of the mainland despite the 1949 estrangement.
Relations between the two sides which showed significant improvement in recent years took a hit after election of Tsai, who defeated Ma Ying-Jeou who promoted normalisation of ties between the two sides in recent election.