Fri, May 25, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Enthusiast spots Chinese aircraft near median line

Staff writer, with CNA

A Chinese military airplane was spotted flying west of the median line of the Taiwan Strait as part of a training program and the Ministry of National Defense scrambled a fighter jet in response, a local military enthusiast said yesterday.

While a rehearsal for the live-fire portion of the annual Han Kuang military exercises, scheduled for June 4 to June 8, was being held yesterday morning, the military enthusiast said that while using the Flightradar24 app he spotted the Chinese military airplane, believed to be a Shaanxi Y-8 transport, traveling along the west side of the median line of the Taiwan Strait.

The air force responded by scrambling a fighter jet to Taiwan’s side of the median line, he said.

Ministry spokesman Chen Chung-chi (陳中吉) declined to confirm or deny the report, saying only that the military was in full control of the situation.

The Chinese military aircraft was traveling along the west side of the median line where it can engage in complex training exercises and combat simulations in exactly the same fashion that Taiwan’s military conducts training exercises on the east side of the line, a ministry official said on condition of anonymity.

“There is no need to panic,” the official said.

China flying fighter jets west of the Taiwan Strait’s median line is common practice during military exercises and are attempts by Beijing to influence Taiwan through media reports, senior military analyst Erich Shih (施孝瑋) said.

Such moves should not be interpreted as provocative, he said.

The military should be alert to threats from China’s military intelligence operations and improve its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities to counter the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, he added.

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