Fri, Apr 20, 2018 - Page 3 News List

PLAAF conducting drills skirting Taiwan’s space

PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE:Chinese media reports have greatly exaggerated the size, aircraft type and capability of the patrols, the defense ministry said

By Jonathan Chin  /  Staff writer, with CNA

A Chinese Xian H-6 bomber, photographed by the Japanese Ministry of Defense, is pictured in an undated photograph.

Photo: screen grab from the Japanese Ministry of Defense Web site

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) has over the past two days conducted drills with strategic bombers and support aircraft that skirted Taiwan’s territorial space, the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday.

The ministry identified the Chinese planes as two H-6K bombers and an unspecified number of Tu-154 bombers and Shaanxi Y-8 planes.

The Chinese aircraft, singly and in groups, flew over the Miyako Strait, the Western Pacific and then the Bashi Channel before returning to their bases, the ministry said in a news release.

It said its fighter jets and combat ships have been monitoring the Chinese drills, and nothing out of the ordinary has been observed.

The Chinese government has been publicizing its latest “island-surrounding patrols” in what appears to be psychological warfare targeting Taiwanese, officials said.

Chinese media reports, including those made by PLAAF spokesman Shen Jinke (申進科) appear to have greatly exaggerated the size, aircraft type and capability of the patrols involved, as well as using graphics that appear to be from previous exercises.

Shen said on Sina Weibo that the Chinese patrols involved Sukhoi Su-30 and Shenyang J-11 fighters, as well as H-6K bombers and surveillance aircraft.

However, the ministry said it has not confirmed the presence of the two types of fighters.

“Each island-surrounding patrol increases our sense of duty and courage. Hearing the call of the fatherland and the people, the air force pilots are heroic and steadfast,” one Chinese bomber pilot was quoted as saying in a report.

The Chinese reports have also highlighted the H-6K bomber, which is based on the Soviet-made Tupolev Tu-16, as domestically designed and produced, saying that it has played an important role in the exercises.

The PLAAF will conduct more such patrols, and it has the will, confidence and capability to maintain China’s sovereign and territorial integrity, Shen was quoted as saying.

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