Thu, Jan 17, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Mirage 2000s demonstrate takeoff abilities

Staff writer, with CNA

A Mirage 2000 aircraft takes off during a drill at Hsinchu Air Base yesterday.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

The air force yesterday demonstrated its combat preparedness during which French-built Mirage 2000s participated in an emergency takeoff exercise, amid rising cross-strait tensions following Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) reassertion on Jan. 2 that Beijing might use force to achieve unification.

During a media tour at Hsinchu Air Base, four Mirage 2000s under the 499th Tactical Fighter Wing conducted the emergency takeoff exercise.

The jet requires only six minutes of preparation to take off in response to any suspicious movements by the Chinese military, Mirage 2000 pilot Major Lee Yi-hsiu (李易修) said.

The demonstration was meant to assure Taiwanese that the armed forces are prepared to defend the sovereignty and security of the nation, Ministry of National Defense spokesman Major General Chen Chung-chi (陳中吉) said.

The military would not rest during the Lunar New Year holiday from Feb. 2 to Feb. 10, he added.

The media tour was part of a two-day trip arranged every year by the military to showcase its combat readiness before the Lunar New Year.

The Mirage 2000 is a multi-role combat aircraft manufactured by Dassault Aviation of France. The fleet was acquired from May 1997 to November 1998 and is based in Hsinchu.

Xi in a speech to commemorate the 40th anniversary of China’s “Message to Compatriots in Taiwan” said that China is willing to talk with any party in Taiwan to push forward the process of peaceful unification on the basis of the “one China” principle.

“We make no promise to renounce the use of force and reserve the option of taking all necessary means” to that end, he added.

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