Taiwan scrambles fighters as Chinese planes fly near island again


The Taiwan Air Force scrambled jets for a second straight day on Saturday as several Chinese planes approached the island and crossed the sensitive center line of the Taiwan Strait, with the island government urging Beijing to ” withdraw from the edge ”.Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said 19 Chinese planes were involved, one more than the day before, some crossing the center line of the Taiwan Strait and others flying in the Taiwan Air Defense Identification Zone in off its southwest coast.

He said China, which claims democratic Taiwan as its own territory, sent 12 J-16 fighters, two J-10 fighters, two J-11 fighters, two H-6 bombers and a Y anti-submarine aircraft. -8. According to a map provided by the ministry, none approached or flew over the continent itself.

“ROCAF has jammed fighters and deployed an air defense missile system to monitor activities,” the ministry said in a tweet, referring to the Republic of China Air Force, the official name of the military. Taiwan air.

Taiwan has complained of repeated incidents of Chinese aircraft near the island this year and has regularly had to jam its F-16s and other planes to intercept them.

China announced at a press conference in Beijing on Friday the combat exercises of the UN peacekeeping efforts near the Taiwan Strait and denounced what it called collusion between the island and the United States.

US Under Secretary for Economic Affairs Keith Krach arrived in Taipei on Thursday for a three-day visit, the highest State Department official to come to Taiwan in four decades, angering China. He left on Saturday afternoon, according to Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry.

‘Get off the edge’

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry, in a separate statement, said China was carrying out provocative activities, seriously undermining peace and stability.

“The Defense Ministry strongly condemns this and calls on the mainland authorities to control themselves and to withdraw from the edge. “

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen bows during a funeral ceremony for former President Lee Teng-Hui at Aletheia University in Nee Taipei City on Saturday. (Chang Hsin-Wei / AFP / Getty Images)

The widely read and state-backed tabloid Global Times, published by the ruling Communist Party’s Official Daily, said in a Saturday editorial that Friday’s drills were a rehearsal to take control of Taiwan.

“The United States and Taiwan should not misjudge the situation, or believe the exercise is a bluff. If they continue to provocate, a war will inevitably break out, ”he said.

The two sides must resume dialogue to reduce the risk of war, Johnny Chiang, leader of Taiwan’s main opposition party, the Kuomintang, wrote on his Facebook page.

“People who are ready to play a communication role are stigmatized and those who call for war are seen as heroes. Such an atmosphere is certainly not conducive to the peaceful and stable development of the Taiwan Strait, ”said Chiang, whose party has traditionally favored closing ties with China.

Former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, center, sits next to US Under Secretary of State Keith Krach during a memorial service for former Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui in Taipei on Saturday. (The Associated Press)

Life went on normally in Taiwan without any sign of panic. The island has long been used to living with Chinese threats.

The Taiwanese people have shown no interest in being ruled by an autocratic China, re-electing President Tsai Ing-wen in a landslide last year on what was largely a Beijing defense platform.

The latest Chinese flights were on the same day Taiwan held a memorial service for former President Lee Teng-hui, known as “Mr. Democracy ”for ending autocratic rule in favor of free elections and defending Taiwan’s distinct identity from China.

Lee, who died in July, became Taiwan’s first democratically elected president in March 1996 after eight months of intimidating war games and missile testing by China in the waters around the island.

These events brought China and Taiwan to the brink of conflict, prompting the United States to send an aircraft carrier task force to the region to warn the Beijing government.


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