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Chinese military aircraft spotted again near Taiwan: MND

2017/11/22 17:33:01

Defense Minister Feng Shih-kuan (馮世寬, center)

Taipei, Nov. 22 (CNA) Several Chinese military aircraft were seen flying near Taiwan on Wednesday, passing through the Bashi Channel south of the island, as part of a far-sea training mission in the Western Pacific, Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) has confirmed.

The flights by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force were the latest in a series of Chinese military activities being carried out close to Taiwan since Nov. 18, when a Chinese military aircraft flew east of the island.

The group of aircraft involved in the training mission Wednesday included bombers, and renaissance and refueling planes, which moved along a route that is feasible for Beijing to unleash strikes on Taiwan, Defense Minister Feng Shih-kuan (馮世寬) said at a legislative hearing.

In response, Taiwan scrambled airborne early warning aircraft and interceptors in its Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), Feng said.

According to a statement released by the ministry, there are 10 Chinese aircraft involved in the training mission, including models such as the Xian H-6 bomber, Y-8 electronic warfare aircraft, Tu-154MD electronic intelligence aircraft, Ilyushin IL-78 air-to-air refueling tanker aircraft and Su-30 fighter jet.

Feng said it was difficult to predict whether the planes would circle around Taiwan or return to China along their original route.

China's People Liberation Army Air Force has been increasing its far-sea training activities, from four times a year in 2015 to several times a week at present, according to an earlier report on China Central Television (CCTV).

Over the past three weeks, the PLA Air Force has been carrying out training activities several times a week, under which its planes would fly in formation through Japan's Miyako Strait off eastern Taiwan, according to the CCTV report.

The Miyako Strait, which lies between the Japanese islands of Miyako and Okinawa, is part of Japan's exclusive economic zone but includes a narrow band of international waters and airspace and is close to Taiwan's ADIZ.

(By Liu Lee-jung, Lu Hsin-hui and Evelyn Kao)
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