A Chinese spy ship and a US Navy destroyer were early yesterday detected in the waters off eastern Taiwan, a military source said.
It was not clear if the appearance of the Chinese vessel, identified as the Type 815 spy ship Beijixing, or Polaris, had anything to do with the recent test flights of Taiwan’s new indigenous advanced jet trainer, the source said on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to comment publicly on the issue.
The Beijixing was first detected heading south 40 nautical miles (74km) east of Hualien County’s Jingpu Village (靜浦) on Tuesday afternoon, they said.
At about 7am yesterday, it was seen about 43 nautical miles from Taitung County’s Changbin Township (長濱) and continued to move southward, the source said.
The military also detected the USS Pinckney, a US Navy Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, sailing into the Pacific Ocean via the Bashi Channel at about 4am yesterday, they said.
The destroyer was last seen about 44 nautical miles southeast of Orchid Island (Lanyu, 蘭嶼) before moving out of the navy’s range of surveillance, the source said.
The advanced jet trainer, codenamed Yung Yin or Brave Eagle, has in the past two days completed internal test flights and operational test flights over the Pacific Ocean east of Taitung, the source said.
An advanced jet trainer fleet is scheduled to be stationed at Taitung Air Base before the end of this year, they added.
Asked to confirm the presence of the Chinese and US vessels, military spokesman Shih Shun-wen (史順文) sidestepped the question, saying only that the armed forces have a complete grasp of any activity near Taiwan’s airspace and waters.
The military source said that most of the Chinese spy ships detected in the past few years in the waters off eastern Taiwan have been Chinese Type 815 auxiliary general intelligence ships.
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