Taiwan shadows Chinese aircraft

Reuters, TAIPEI

Mon, Feb 10, 2020 - Page 2

The air force yesterday scrambled to intercept Chinese jets that flew around Taiwan in a move denounced by the Ministry of National Defense as a threat to regional peace and stability.

China has been flying what it calls “island encirclement” drills on-off since 2016, when President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the Democratic Progressive Party first took office. She was re-elected on Jan. 11.

The ministry said in a statement that Chinese J-11 fighters and H-6 bombers flew into the Bashi Channel to the south of Taiwan, then out into the Pacific Ocean before heading back to base via the Miyako Strait, between Japan’s Miyako and Okinawa islands, to the northeast of Taiwan.

“During this period, the national military used air reconnaissance aircraft and air defense forces in accordance with combat readiness regulations,” it said.

The ministry provided a picture of a Taiwanese F-16 shadowing one of the Chinese H-6 bombers.

“The Chinese communists’ long-range far-out-at-sea missions have impacted regional security and stability, and endanger the peace and welfare shared by all parties in the region,” the ministry said.

There was no immediate comment from the Chinese Ministry of National Defense.

China has brushed off such drills in the past as nothing out of the ordinary.