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Airforce showcases Mirage-2000 emergency takeoff capabilities

2019/01/16 18:31:44

Taipei, Jan. 16 (CNA) Taiwan's Air Force on Wednesday demonstrated its combat preparedness at a northern base during which French-built Mirage 2000s held an emergency takeoff exercise, amid rising cross-strait tension after Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) recently reasserted Beijing's right to use force to achieve reunification with Taiwan.

In a media tour held at Hsinchu Air Base, four Mirage 2000s under the R.O.C. Air Force 499th Tactical Fighter Wing, conducted an emergency takeoff exercise.

The jet requires only six minutes of preparation to take off in response to an emergency should any suspicious movements by the Chinese military be detected, said Mirage 2000 fighter pilot Major Lee Yi-hsiu (李易修).

Military spokesman Chen Chung-chi (陳中吉) stressed that the latest demonstration is meant to assure Taiwanese that the R.O.C. Armed Forces are prepared to defend the sovereignty and security of the nation.

The military will not rest during the upcoming Lunar New Year vacation from Feb. 2-10, when most of the country is on holiday, he stressed.

The media tour is part of a two-day press trip arranged every year by the military to showcase its combat readiness before the Lunar New Year vacation.

The Mirage 2000 is a multirole combat fighter manufactured by Dassault Aviation of France. Taiwan's Mirage 2000 fleet was acquired from May 1997 to November 1998 and is based in Hsinchu.

Xi's warning was delivered on Jan. 2 during an address to commemorate the 40th anniversary of China's "Message to Compatriots in Taiwan."

Xi said in the speech that China is willing to talk with any party in Taiwan to push forward the process of peaceful reunification on the basis of the "one China principle."

However, "we make no promise to renounce the use of force and reserve the option of taking all necessary means" to that end, he added.

(By Matt Yu and Joseph Yeh)