There is a “huge” difference between Chinese warplanes flying around Taiwan and intruding into its airspace, and the former should not be deemed provocative, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wu Sz-huai (吳斯懷) said, calling on the Ministry of National Defense not to mislead the public.
Just as US aircraft flying by the nation should not be deemed provocative, neither should Chinese aircraft, Wu wrote in a question to the Executive Yuan on Wednesday last week.
Any assumption that such moves are provocative lacks a legal basis, and the ministry should avoid “crying wolf” and causing panic, said Wu, a retired lieutenant general.
Photo: Chung Lee-hua, Taipei Times
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force has since last month flown its warplanes near Taiwan’s airspace four times and in one incident locked on to a Taiwanese F-16.
The ministry yesterday said that the Chinese Communist Party has never renounced the use of force to annex Taiwan and has unilaterally changed the “status quo” in the Taiwan Strait.
Apart from the four drills directed at Taiwan, China on March 31 last year flew two warplanes past the median line of the Taiwan Strait, breaking a tacit agreement between Taipei and Beijing, the ministry said, adding that these incidents are all evidence of Chinese browbeating and provocation.
The ministry said that it has faithfully and dutifully passed on the facts and has by no means misled the public.
Wu last month called Chinese warplanes’ fly-bys “very unwise and inappropriate,” only to change his tone in a question addressed to the Executive Yuan later that month.
Wu on Wednesday last week wrote to the Executive Yuan, saying: “A correct understanding of national defense will improve the public’s notion of the issue. Conversely, misinformation would sow panic.”
Apart from the one incident in which Chinese aircraft crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait, the other Chinese fly-bys last month involved aircraft participating in long-distance drills, he said.
US bombers and marine patrol aircraft last month also flew near Taiwan, including off the east coast, Oluanpi (鵝鑾鼻) and once near the median line of the Taiwan Strait, he added.
He cited international law for defending Chinese fly-bys, which did not intrude into the nation’s airspace, even though the concept only applies to vessels.
The median line of the Taiwan Strait is a supposed border unilaterally drawn by the US under the Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty, Wu said, adding that most of the line is in international waters.
The line has served as a military demarcation adhered to by both sides of the Taiwan Strait based on a tacit agreement, he said.
Instead of emphasizing Chinese fly-bys, the ministry should focus on the formations employed by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy in joint military exercises, as well as its ability to neutralize the effects of attacks, he added.
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