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Chinese military activity near Taiwan no longer to be reported

2017/12/21 13:08:52

Taipei, Dec. 21 (CNA) The Ministry of National Defense (MND) will no longer issue reports on movements of Chinese military aircraft or naval vessels near Taiwan unless something unusual occurs, Defense Minister Feng Shih-kuan (馮世寬) said Thursday.

The decision was made because the ministry will not dance to China's tune as it tries to use psychological warfare against Taiwan, Feng told the media.

Several Chinese aircraft were seen passing near Taiwan at 4:40 pm Wednesday, passing through the Bashi Channel to the south then going north before flying over the Miyako Strait that lies between two Japanese islands, on their way back to China after apparently conducting training missions in the Western Pacific, the MND said later that day.

The ministry said that it would not be issuing any follow-up statements because it seems to have become a regular occurrence for Chinese military aircraft and vessels to fly on the route for long-distance training missions.

Also Thursday, Feng dismissed as "gossip" an Apple Daily report that an amateur radio operator recorded verbal exchanges between the pilot of an approaching Chinese military aircraft and the pilot of a Taiwanese aircraft dispatched to intercept it, in which the Taiwanese pilot told the Chinese aircraft to "turn around."

Asked if the Chinese aircraft had entered the Republic of China air defense identification zone as reported, Feng said "how could that be possible."

Wednesday's exercise was the 10th by China's Air Force after the conclusion of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October, according to data released by the MND.

Also Thursday, MND spokesman Chen Chung-ji (陳中吉) said the ministry will follow regular readiness procedures in response to China's increased military activity near Taiwan, based on the principles of "not taking provocative action, not triggering a conflict, and reducing antagonistic behavior."

"We do not seek a battle, but we will not avoid one," Chen said.

He also thanked the United States for reaffirming its commitment to providing defensive weapons to Taiwan under the Taiwan Relations Act.

When asked to comment on the latest Chinese military activity on Wednesday, Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Logan reiterated that the U.S. will steadfastly support Taiwan's self-defense capability by providing arms of a defensive nature and will maintain its own capacity to resist the use of force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or social or economic system, of the people of Taiwan.

"The objective of our defense engagement with Taiwan is to ensure that Taiwan remains secure, confident, free from coercion and able to engage in a peaceful, productive dialogue to resolve differences in a manner acceptable to the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait," Logan said in an-email response to CNA.

(By Lu Hsin-hui, Chiang Chin-yeh and Evelyn Kao)
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