Taiwan scrambles jets as 18 Chinese planes buzz island International News

 

 

Taipei/Beijing: Taiwan scrambled fighter jets on Friday as 18 Chinese aircraft buzzed the island, including crossing the sensitive mid-line of the Taiwan Strait, in an escalation of tensions as a senior U.S. official held talks in Taipei.

China had earlier announced the start of combat drills near the Taiwan Strait, denouncing what it called collusion between the island, which it claims as part of its territory, and the United States.

U.S. Undersecretary for Economic Affairs Keith Krach arrived in Taipei on Thursday for a three-day visit, the most senior State Department official to come to Taiwan in four decades - which China had said would prompt a “necessary response”.

Beijing has watched with growing alarm the ever-closer relationship between Taipei and Washington, and has stepped up military exercises near the island, including two days of large-scale air and sea drills last week.

With a U.S. presidential election looming in November, Sino-U.S. relations are under huge strain from a trade war, U.S. digital security concerns and the coronavirus pandemic.

Taiwan said 18 Chinese aircraft were involved on Friday, a far larger number than it has previously announced for such encounters.

“Sep. 18, two H-6 bombers, eight J-16 fighters, four J-10 fighters and four J-11 fighters crossed the midline of the TaiwanStrait and entered Taiwan’s southwest ADIZ,” the defence ministry said in an English-language tweet.

“ROCAF scrambled fighters, and deployed air defence missile system to monitor the activities.” The ROCAF, Taiwan’s air force, has scrambled frequently in recent months in response to Chinese intrusions.

The ministry showed a map of the flight paths of Chinese jets crossing the Taiwan Strait mid-line, which normally combat aircraft from both sides avoid passing through.

Taiwan’s Liberty Times newspaper said Taiwan air force jets had scrambled 17 times on Friday morning over four hours, warning China’s air force to stay away.

It also showed a picture of missiles being loaded onto an F-16 fighter at the Hualien air base on Taiwan’s east coast. (Reuters)

 



Posted Date :  18-09-20

Categories : International News

Tag Cloud: International News

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