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China balloon crosses Taiwan Strait median line before 'disappearing'

12/08/2023 02:21 PM
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A jet flies by a suspected Chinese spy balloon as it floats off the coast in Surfside Beach, South Carolina, U.S. Feb. 4, 2023. Photo: Reuters
A jet flies by a suspected Chinese spy balloon as it floats off the coast in Surfside Beach, South Carolina, U.S. Feb. 4, 2023. Photo: Reuters

Taipei, Dec. 8 (CNA) A Chinese surveillance balloon traveling eastward crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait before "disappearing" around 1 p.m. Thursday, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said in a statement released Friday.

The MND said the surveillance balloon was first detected at 11:52 a.m. Thursday flying around 101 nautical miles southwest of Keelung an approximate altitude of 21,000 feet (6,400 meters) above sea level.

The balloon, which first appeared off China's southeastern coast, traveled eastward for about an hour before "disappearing" at 12:55 p.m., the ministry said.

Meanwhile, the MND said China also flew a raft of warplanes over the Taiwan Strait between 6 a.m. Thursday and 6 a.m. Friday.

Of the 26 military aircraft detected, 15 crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait and entered the southwestern and southeastern parts of Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ), the ministry said.

The Chinese military aircraft included several SU-30 and J-10 fighter jets, as well as a Shaanxi Y-9 medium military transport plane.

The MND said it scrambled planes to monitor the Chinese aircraft, issued radio warnings, mobilized combat air and naval patrols, and deployed defense missile systems to track the Chinese warplanes.

(By Matt Yu and Ko Lin)

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