Taiwan's Defense Ministry accused China on Saturday of threatening aviation safety and waging psychological warfare on the island's people with a recent spate of balloons spotted near or over the island, days before key Taiwanese elections.

The potential for China to use balloons for spying became a global issue in February when the United States shot down what it said was a Chinese surveillance balloon. China said the balloon was a civilian craft that accidentally drifted astray.

Taiwan is on high alert for Chinese military and political activity ahead of the Jan. 13 presidential and parliamentary elections. It says China is exerting military and economic pressure in an attempt to interfere in the elections.