The Ministry of National Defense yesterday said it is monitoring Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy ship movements near Taiwan, after the Japanese Ministry of Defense disclosed that Chinese vessels made a rare voyage between Yilan County and Japan’s Yonaguni.
The Japanese ministry on Wednesday said that two Chinese navy ships on Tuesday diverted from their usual route of entering the Pacific Ocean via the Miyako Strait and for the first time traveled there between Yilan and Yonaguni.
The Japan Self-Defense Forces said that it picked up the presence of China’s Type-056A Jiangdao-class corvette 220km north of Yonaguni at 9am on Tuesday.
The vessel met with a Type-052C Luyang II-class destroyer 210km north of the island at 11pm, before together sailing toward the Pacific, it said.
Chinese naval ships usually enter the Pacific through the Miyako Strait — between Japan’s Miyako-jima and Okinawa islands — the Bashi Channel or the Luzon Strait, the latter two of which are between Taiwan and the Philippines.
It is rare for PLA ships to take the route they did on Tuesday, which shows that China is breaking with custom, military observers said.
Meanwhile, two Type 052D Luyang III-class destroyers and two Type 54A Jiangkai II-class guided-missile frigates traveled through the Miyako Strait into the Pacific Ocean, Japan said.
In Taipei, Ministry of National Defense spokesman Major General Sun Li-fang (孫立方) said that Taiwan’s navy closely monitors all Chinese ship movements.
The military is confident, resolved and prepared to safeguard the nation, he added.
The PLA Air Force on Tuesday dispatched 29 jet flights that entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), including a Shaanxi Y-9 transport aircraft, a Shaanxi Y-8 transport plane and six Xian H-6 bombers, the ministry said.
The aircraft flew east of Orchid Island (Lanyu, 蘭嶼) and through the ADIZ before returning using the same route.
Compared with previous incursions, this one was a longer-ranged flight, which took the PLA planes closer to Taiwan’s southeastern areas than before, the ministry said.
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