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Taiwan scrambles jet to monitor Chinese military aircraft

2018/05/24 18:54:10

Chen Chung-chi (陳中吉, CNA file photo)

Taipei, May 24 (CNA) A Chinese military airplane was spotted flying west of the median line of the Taiwan Strait Thursday as part of a training program and the Ministry of National Defense (MND) scrambled a fighter jet in response, a local military enthusiast announced that day.

As a rehearsal for the live-fire portion of the upcoming annual Han Kuang military exercises, scheduled for June 4-8 across Taiwan, was being held Thursday morning, the military enthusiast reported that while using the Flightradar 24 app he spotted a Chinese plane, believed to be a Shaanxi Y-8 transport aircraft, traveling along the west side of the median line of the strait.

The Republic of China (ROC) Air Force responded by scrambling a fighter jet to the Taiwan side of the median line, according to the source.

In response, MND spokesman Chen Chung-chi (陳中吉) declined to confirm or deny the report, reiterating only that the military is in full control of the situation.

Meanwhile, an anonymous MND official said the Chinese military aircraft was traveling along the west side of the median line where it can engage in complex training exercises and combat simulations, in exactly the same way Taiwan's military conduct training exercises on the east side of the line. "There is no need to panic," the official added.

Taiwanese military expert Erich Shih (施孝瑋) said that China flying fighter jets west of the strait's median line was common practice for military exercises and an attempt by Beijing to impact Taiwan through media reports. Such moves should not be interpreted as provocative, Shih said.

The military should be alert to threats from China's military intelligence operations and improve its intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities to counter the Chinese People's Liberation Army, Shih added.

(By Yiu Kai-hsiang and Evelyn Kao)
Enditem/AW