Thu, Aug 28, 2014 - Page 1 News List

China dismisses claim it breached Taiwan airspace

‘ROUTINE FLIGHT’:China said in a statement ‘there was no occurrence of any abnormality’ after Taiwan had to scramble fighters to intercept two of its planes

Reuters, BEIJING

A handout photo made available by the Military News Agency on Tuesday shows a Taiwan Air Force F-16 fighter jet flying over the Ching Chuan Kang Air Base in Taichung, western Taiwan, 17 August. On Tuesday, Taiwan Air Force confirmed that China`s warplanes entered Taiwan air space twice on Monday on their way to the South China Sea.

Photo: EPA

China has rejected Taiwan’s claim that two Chinese military aircraft had breached Taiwan’s air defense identification zone four times, saying that it was a “routine flight” in “the relevant airspace.”

Taiwanese fighter jets were scrambled on Monday to intercept two Chinese military aircraft, which were identified as Yun-8 transport aircraft, and the Chinese planes left without incident, Air Force Combat Command Chief of Staff Major General Hsiung Hou-chi (熊厚基) told a news conference in Taipei on Tuesday.

“Our military aircraft carried out a routine flight on the 25th in the relevant airspace, there was no occurrence of any abnormality,” the Chinese Ministry of National Defense said in a faxed statement late on Tuesday.

The incident risks hurting relations between China and Taiwan.

While relations have improved under President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), deep political and military suspicions remain.

The breach of Taiwanese air space comes a week after the Pentagon lodged a diplomatic complaint with China about the conduct of a Chinese fighter jet, which it said came within meters of a US Navy patrol plane near Hainan Island.

China has said the criticism was groundless and its pilot maintained a safe distance from the US plane.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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