Taiwan scrambles jets as Chinese fighter aircraft buzz island
TAIPEI/BEIJING (TAIWAN/CHINA) – Several Chinese fighter jets crossed the sensitive Taiwan Strait and buzzed the island nation on Friday, forcing Taipei to scramble its fighter aircraft, escalating tensions in the region. This happened on the same day when a top US official began meetings in Taipei.
China’s Defence Ministry said earlier on Friday that its military was conducting drills near the strait and denounced the collusion between the US and Taiwan, which is claimed by Beijing.
US Undersecretary for Economic Affairs Keith Krach arrived on the island on Thursday for a three-day visit. He is the senior most State Department official to visit Taiwan in 40 years.
The growing ties between Taiwan and US have alarmed China, forcing it to step up military drills near the island, including two days of air and sea exercises.
“Sep. 18, two H-6 bombers, eight J-16 fighters, four J-10 fighters and four J-11 fighters crossed the midline of the Taiwan Strait and entered Taiwan’s southwest ADIZ,” the foreign ministry said on Twitter.
“ROCAF scrambled fighters, and deployed air defence missile system to monitor the activities,” it added.
The ministry also revealed a flight path of the Chinese jets.
According to a report by the Liberty Times newspaper, Taiwan air force jets scrambled 17 times on Friday morning, sending a stern warning to China to stay away.
The report also showed a photograph of missiles being loaded onto an F-16 at the Hualien air base on Taiwan’s east coast.
Meanwhile, Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang said the drills involved the People’s Liberation Army’s eastern theatre command.