Since China announced an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) over the East China Sea, there have been 13 sightings of US military aircraft in the zone and 85 instances of Japanese aircraft entering the zone, a senior military official told lawmakers yesterday.
Deputy Chief of the General Staff for Intelligence Ke Wen-an (柯文安) made the remarks at a meeting of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee during which officials were asked to give assessments of the situation following the declaration of the ADIZ on Nov. 23.
The zone includes the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台), which are claimed by Taiwan, China and Japan — which calls them the Senkaku Islands. China has demanded that foreign aircraft passing through the zone file flight plans in advance and strictly follow instructions from its air-traffic controllers.
Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times
Citing information collected by the military, Ko said China has sent its military aircraft to the area 55 times since it announced the new zone and there were three instances in which the Chinese planes were in close proximity to aircraft from Japan or the US.
The planes were very close to each other, Ko reiterated, when Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) asked whether China had intercepted any foreign aircraft in the zone.
Minister of National Defense Yen Ming (嚴明) told the committee that no Chinese military aircraft have entered Taiwan’s ADIZ since Beijing’s Nov. 23 announcement.
Responding to questions from lawmakers on the committee earlier in the day, Civil Aeronautics Administration Director-General Jean Shen (沈啟) said that aircraft from Taiwan had previously been intercepted by Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force in an area where the two countries’ airspace zones overlap.
In 2002, Japanese defense craft “monitored” a Taiwanese plane testing a new air route designated B591, which stretches from Taipei to northeastern China through the overlapping zones, according to CAA official Margaret Hong (洪美雲).
A similar incident occurred in 2009, she said.
Shen said the area falls between longitude 123? and 124? east.
Japan asked Taiwan to provide flight plans through the overlap starting in 2009, and Taiwan has complied, she said.
However, Japanese self-defense planes have intercepted Taiwanese civil aircraft in the region, which “poses a great danger” to Taiwan’s flight control, she said.
Hsiao said interference from Japanese fighter planes can seriously impact the safety of Taiwan’s civil aircraft on normal flight routes.
Hong told reporters after the hearing that “interception” is a military term meaning that the Japanese fighter was dispatched to “learn about the situation” and she did not know how close the two planes had come to one another.
Additional reporting by Rich Chang
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS: Several of the PLA fighter jets that crossed the median line of the Strait came within 68km of Hsinchu, drawing warnings from Taiwan, the ministry said At least 18 Chinese military aircraft yesterday flew into the nation’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on the second day of a US delegation’s visit, the Ministry of National Defense said, adding that the military responded by deploying an air defense missile system to monitor their activities. A delegation led by US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach on Thursday started a three-day visit to Taiwan. The ministry from Thursday started publicizing the actions of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Taiwan’s ADIZ on its Web site and Twitter. According to ministry reports, 18 PLA aircraft
TWO CASES: The five allegedly conspired with conglomerates, threatening the nation’s governance and subverting the rules of ethical conduct, a deputy chief prosecutor said Taipei prosecutors yesterday charged three legislators and one former lawmaker with contravening the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例) in a case linked to former Pacific Distribution Investment Co (太平洋流通) chairman Lee Heng-lung’s (李恆隆) battle with the Far Eastern Group (遠東集團) over ownership of the Pacific SOGO Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨) chain, while independent Legislator Chao Cheng-yu (趙正宇) was indicted in a separate case involving two funeral services companies and a plot of land in a national park. Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Chen Chao-ming (陳超明) and Sufin Siluko (廖國棟), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) and former New Power Party legislator
PENGHU INSPECTION: Taiwan cannot let its enemies strut around in its airspace, Tsai said, one day after a Chinese spokesman denied a median line exists in the Taiwan Strait Following China’s assertion on Monday that there is no “median line” in the Taiwan Strait, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday pledged to defend the nation’s airspace during a visit to an air force base in Penghu, saying that Taiwan cannot allow others to flex their military muscle in its territorial airspace. Tsai praised the “heroic performance” of the pilots of the Indigenous Defense Fighters who have been intercepting Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force planes in recent days. “I have a lot of confidence in you. As soldiers of the Republic of China [ROC], how could we let enemies strut
Swedish Member of Parliament Hampus Hagman is pushing for changing the name of the nation’s trade office in Taipei to signal improved relations with “Asia’s perhaps foremost democracy.” Hagman on Wednesday last week proposed renaming the Swedish Trade and Invest Council to “Sweden’s Office in Taipei,” following similar changes by other nations. The Swedish Trade and Invest Council, part of Business Sweden, is owned by the Swedish government and Swedish industry. Taiwan and Sweden share important values such as respect for democracy, human rights, the rule of law and freedom of speech, Hagman said in the motion, adding that the two nations