Chinese aircraft circled around Taiwan for first time: MND
ROC Central News Agency
Taipei, Dec. 5 (CNA) Chinese aircraft circled around Taiwan on Nov. 25 for the first time on a long-distance training mission, Deputy National Defense Minister Lee Hsi-ming (李喜明) confirmed Monday.
"This was the first time that Chinese aircraft circled around Taiwan," Lee said, adding that China has said similar training sorties will become routine.
Lee said that politically speaking, the move was not surprising, explaining that if China had a capability, it was going to demonstrate it once its Air Force had completed all of its other training missions.
Six Chinese aircraft -- two H-6K bombers, one TU-154 surveillance aircraft, one Y-8 surveillance plane and two Su-30 fighters -- took part in the Nov. 25 long-distance training mission.
Among the six, four circled around Taiwan by flying around southern Taiwan and over the Bashi Channel before joining other planes over Japan's Miyako Channel and returning to China.
Legislator Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) of the Democratic Progressive Party asked if China's action will put pressure on Taiwan's air defense warning system.
Lee responded that China's frequent sorties have put pressure on Taiwan, but he said the military was "responding well" and that there was "no need to adjust standard operating procedures in response."
Lo also said it is publicly known that Chinese military planes have flown near Taiwan's intelligence information region three times -- on Sept. 25, Oct. 27 and Nov. 25.
Chang Yuan-hsun (章元勳), the deputy chief of the Ministry of National Defense's General Staff for Intelligence, replied that the ministry is aware of more than three incidents but that in none of the cases did the planes enter Taiwan's air defense identification zone.
(By Hsieh Chia-chen and Lilian Wu)
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