Three U.S. military planes spotted south of Taiwan

06/25/2020 09:43 PM
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A P-8A maritime patrol aircraft / Image taken from Wikimedia Commons
A P-8A maritime patrol aircraft / Image taken from Wikimedia Commons

Taipei, June 25 (CNA) Three American military aircraft were seen Thursday flying over the Bashi Channel, a strategic waterway south of Taiwan that is used by Chinese submarines sailing from Hainan Province into the Pacific.

Images posted on Twitter by aircraft trackers Golf9 and the South China Sea Probing Initiative (SCSPI) showed two United States reconnaissance aircraft and a transport plane over the Bashi Channel on Thursday morning.

Shih Shun-wen (史順文), spokesman for Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND), declined to comment on the appearance of the U.S. military planes, saying only that the ministry is fully aware of any movements by foreign military around Taiwan.

According to Golf9, an American RC-135U Combat Sent reconnaissance aircraft departed Kadena Air Base in Japan Thursday morning, flying past Taiwan's southeastern coast and heading out over the South China Sea.

Meanwhile, the SCSPI tweeted that a P-8A maritime patrol aircraft and an RC-135 from the U.S. military conducted a reconnaissance mission over the South China Sea Thursday morning, focusing on the waters east of the Bashi Channel.

The P-8A, which has anti-submarine warfare capabilities, flew over the Bashi Channel and lingered off the southern coast of Taiwan, according to the SCSPI.

It said an American C-17A military transport plane also flew over the Bashi Channel into the South China Sea area around the same time.

On Wednesday, an American KC-135R aerial refueling aircraft and a P-8A also appeared in the same general area, according to Golf9 and SCSPI.

Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲), a research fellow at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, told CNA that the U.S. military aircraft on Wednesday may have been looking for any unusual activities by Chinese submarines in the Bashi Channel.

According to Su, China's ballistic missile submarines have the capability to attack the U.S. mainland from the Philippine Sea.

(By Matt Yu and Emerson Lim)

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