The US military sent a P-3C anti-submarine bomber to patrol south of Taiwan yesterday, the second day in a row that the US Air Force has deployed aircraft near Taiwan after Chinese jets earlier this week flew missions that circled the nation.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) posted information on yesterday’s flight on Facebook.
“An American P-3C aircraft took off from US Kadena Air Force Base [in Okinawa, Japan] this morning. It headed to about 70 to 80 nautical miles [130km to 148km] south-southwest of Oluanpi (鵝鑾鼻) and afterward returned to Kadena,” Wang wrote.
Photo: screen grab from the US Air Force Web site
Wang is the convener of the Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee for this legislative session.
“The Ministry of National Defense fully monitored the aircraft’s passage and said it was a routine mission by the US Air Force,” Wang wrote.
He included a photograph of a P-3C flying over water with the post.
“We have seen a rare action by US military aircraft, with two B-52s and an MC-130J Commando II transport aircraft circling Taiwan the previous day, flying east of Taiwan and following the Taiwan Strait,” Wang wrote, adding: “This has led to a lot of public interest.”
US military newspaper Stars and Stripes quoted US Pacific Air Forces spokeswoman Victoria Hight as saying that “the [US] Air Force flew two B-52 bombers and an MC-130J Commando II tanker near the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday morning after Chinese naval and air forces flew over [sic] the island twice this week.”
Other news reports said that two B-52s had flown from Andersen Air Force Base on Guam and conducted “synchronized training south of the Taiwan Strait with a US Air Force MC-130J” from Kadena.
Taiwanese F-16 jets scrambled to monitor the movement of the Chinese military planes, which briefly crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait, prompting verbal warnings.
“The US Air Force is responding to China’s military threats against Taiwan, since it is quite unusual for it to fly missions to Taiwan’s east and west at the same time,” defense expert Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲) said.
Additional reporting by Jason Pan
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