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36 PLA aircraft fly near Taiwan, headed to Western Pacific: MND

07/10/2024 11:56 AM
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Photo courtesy of the MND
Photo courtesy of the MND

Taipei, July 10 (CNA) The Ministry of National Defense (MND) detected a relatively large number of Chinese military aircraft and vessels in Taiwan's vicinity Wednesday morning, apparently en route to a Chinese military exercise in the Western Pacific.

In a statement, the MND said 36 People's Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait or an extension of it and were detected in the southern and southeastern parts of Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ) from 5:20 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

They were headed toward the Western Pacific to take part in a joint air and sea military exercise there alongside the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong, the MND said.

Speaking to reporters before going into a legislative meeting, Defense Minister Wellington Koo (顧立雄) was asked about the PLA aircraft carrier and said the MND had a "full grasp" of the Shandong's movements.

The aircraft carrier transited the Balintang Channel north of the Philippines and was sailing toward the Western Pacific, Koo said.

The MND statement on the 36 PLA aircraft was separate from the standard daily description of PLA aircraft incursions into Taiwan's ADIZ in the previous 24 hours issued every morning.

In that separate standard alert Wednesday, the MND said in the 24-hour period from 6 a.m. Tuesday to 6 a.m. Wednesday, 19 PLA aircraft crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait, while seven others flew into the southwestern and southeastern parts of Taiwan's ADIZ.

An ADIZ is an area in which a country claims the right to identify, locate, and control approaching foreign aircraft, but it is not part of the country's territorial airspace as defined in international law.

Those seven aircraft, all drones, flew as close as 39 nautical miles (72.1 km) to Cape Eluanbi on Taiwan's southernmost tip, flight paths released by the MND showed.

The MND deployed combat air patrol aircraft, coastal missile defense systems, and Navy ships in response to the situation.

(By Sean Lin)

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