‘POLITICALLY SENSITIVE’: Taiwan did not scramble jets in response to Chinese aircraft flying over the Miyako Strait, but asked airborne planes to monitor the area, an official said
The Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday said it has been keeping a close eye on Chinese military activities and monitored six Chinese military aircraft flying over a strategic waterway near Japan’s Okinawa Islands two days ago.
The ministry monitored Chinese bombers and fighter jets that flew over the Miyako Strait between the Japanese islands of Miyako and Okinawa on Friday last week, ministry spokesman Major General Chen Chung-chi (陳中吉) said.
The Chinese aircraft were believed to be two Su-30 fighter jets, two H-6 bombers and two surveillance aircraft, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported on Saturday.
Chinese H-6 bomber. Reuters photo
The flight was legal and did not infringe on Japanese territorial airspace, but the Japan Air Self-Defense Force scrambled fighter jets to conduct reconnaissance as Chinese aircraft passed the strait, a critical entryway into the Western Pacific, the report said.
The four Chinese bombers and surveillance airplanes flew northwest over the Pacific Ocean before traveling over the strait and heading toward the East China Sea, it said.
It was assumed that the four aircraft flew over the Bashi Channel between Taiwan and the Philippines and circled around Taiwan, the report added.
The two Su-30 fighter jets passed the strait from the opposite direction and turned around to join the four other aircraft and return to the East China Sea, according to the report.
Su-30 fighter jet
Chen yesterday said that the Taiwanese military has been closely monitoring the nation’s waters and airspace to ensure national security, without being provocative or escalating potential conflicts.
The military did not send fighter jets to patrol Taiwan’s airspace in response to the politically sensitive flight, but it asked airborne aircraft to conduct reconnaissance, Chen said, without specifying what aircraft were used.
The flight was part of a routine distant-sea exercise and was not targeted at any specific nation, Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force spokesman Shen Jinke (申進科) said.
It was the second such flight since September, when Beijing dispatched fighters and bombers to the area as territorial disputes in the South and East China seas escalated.
Tags: Bashi Channel, China, China's military, Chinese bombers, Chinese fighters, Chinese military, Chinese military aircraft, East China Sea, Japan, Japan Air Self-Defense Force, Miyako Strait, Okinawa, Pacific Ocean, Philippines, scrambled fighters, South China Sea, Su-30 fighter jets, surveillance planes, Taiwan, U.S.