Chinese military aircraft yesterday flew over the East China Sea to the south of Japan’s Okinawa Island and circled the international airspace surrounding Taiwan before passing over the Bashi Channel to return to China, officials from the Ministry of National Defense said.
It was the second time in two weeks that Chinese military aircraft have flown around Taiwan and passed over the Miyako Strait between Japan’s Okinawa and Miyako islands.
Yesterday’s flight launched at about 9am from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force’s Eastern Theater Command bases and involved a dozen aircraft, the ministry said in a statement, adding that only four aircraft traveled the entire flight path around Taiwan.
Photo: (Shao Jing/Xinhua via AP)
Ministry officials did not provide any details on the type of aircraft that participated in the flight.
Two Xian H-6K bombers, a Tupolev Tu-154 surveillance aircraft and a Shaanxi Y-8 tactical transport aircraft participated in the previous flight on Nov. 25.
The aircraft taking part in yesterday’s flight were reportedly escorted by several Su-30 fighter jets coming in from the north as they crossed the Miyako Strait as per the PLA Air Force’s procedure for flying past the first island chain, before the main group turned south into international airspace.
They were similarly escorted after reaching airspace south of Taiwan as they flew over the Bashi Channel between Taiwan and the Philippines, before ending the mission and returning to their bases at 1:10pm, according to military sources.
The ministry said that the aircraft flew clockwise around Taiwan, whereas they flew counter-clockwise on Nov. 25.
"Our military forces monitored the PLA aircraft and had them under surveillance the entire time. There is no need to be concerned about the situation,” the statement read.
“After the PLA aircraft headed from the Chinese coast toward the East China Sea, Taiwan’s military radar stations locked onto them and tracked the entire flight,” said a senior military officer who declined to be named.
“The air force dispatched a reconnaissance patrol aircraft for surveillance and it took photographs of the Chinese aircraft and transmitted the images to a command station,” he said.
The ministry released the statement immediately after the incident. Following the Nov. 25 flight, the ministry’s delayed response drew criticism from the public and lawmakers, and raised concern that it had sought to cover up the incident.
Media reports said that neither flight infringed upon Taiwan’s or Japan’s territorial airspace, but this could not be independently verified.
Senior Chinese military officials in September announced that they will conduct “regular exercises” for flying past the first island chain, as China seeks to assert its presence in disputed islands and marine territories in the South and East China seas.
Taiwan has virtually identical claims in the South China Sea.
‘LOCAL TRANSMISSION’: The nation reported 11 new cases, including seven local infections in the north, the highest daily number of cases since the pandemic began The COVD-19 situation has entered the “local transmission” stage and enhanced disease prevention measures have been implemented until June 8, the Central Epidemic Command Center announced yesterday as it reported six locally transmitted cases with unclear infection sources. The center reported 11 new cases yesterday: four imported cases from India, and seven local infections in northern Taiwan, the highest daily number of cases since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that one of the local infections — case No. 1,201 — is a woman who is a family member living with
SIXTEEN LOCAL: Three COVID-19 infections are linked to a cluster at a gambling house in Yilan County, 10 to a case in New Taipei City and three had unclear sources The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday urged people to increase vigilance and thoroughly practice preventive measures against COVID-19 as it reported 16 locally transmitted cases of the disease. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that 21 cases were confirmed in Taiwan yesterday: 16 local cases, four imported cases and one case undetermined. The locally transmitted cases are three linked to a cluster of infections at a gambling house in Yilan County, 10 associated with a previous case in New Taipei City and three with unclear sources of infection. The CECC on Tuesday reported a cluster
‘DOWN TO ZERO 2.0’: All pilots are to undergo quarantine at government centers, while cabin crew on long-haul flights have to quarantine for 14 days The Central Epidemic Command Center yesterday announced stricter measures to contain a COVID-19 outbreak among China Airlines (華航) flight crew, as the nature of the confirmed cases indicated an unknown chain of transmission within the airline. The “Down to Zero 2.0” plan will be tough on China Airlines personnel, but is necessary to minimize the risk to society, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center. Under the measures, all China Airlines pilots and copilots are to be recalled to undergo quarantine at government centers, while cabin crew who are returning from long-haul flights or who have
SHOPPING MALL: People who have been to places visited by the confirmed cases at about the same time should pay attention to their health condition and report symptoms The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday revealed several locations in Taoyuan and Taipei visited by two people confirmed to have COVID-19 when they were likely contagious. Case No. 1,183 — a China Airlines (華航) pilot, the husband of case No. 1,184 — on May 1 visited the “Pilot in Cafe” coffee shop from 12pm to 12:30pm, the Gloria Outlets (華泰名品城) shopping mall from 1pm to 1:30pm and Hutung Peng’s Old Shop Xinjiang Ramen (胡同彭家老舖新疆拉麵) from 2pm to 2:30pm, all in Taoyuan, the CECC said. People who visited the venues at about those times should pay attention to their health condition, and