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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

U.S. aircraft spotted near Taiwan as Chinese navy conducts training

ROC Central News Agency

04/14/2020 06:18 PM

Taipei, April 14 (CNA) An American anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft was spotted south of Taiwan Tuesday morning, close to where a Chinese aircraft carrier battle group is engaged in a training exercise, according to Aircraft Spots, a military air movement tracker.

A U.S. Lockheed P-3 Orion flew over the Bashi Channel between Taiwan and the Philippines in a northeast to southwest direction, a chart posted at Aircraft Spots' Twitter at 10:01 a.m. showed.

Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) spokesman Shih Shun-wen (史順文) told reporters that Taiwan's armed forces are closely monitoring the country's surrounding waters and airspace, without directly confirming the aircraft sighting.

Based on a compilation of the MND and Aircraft Spots' open records, this was the sixth appearance of U.S. military aircraft in the same area over the past five days, and the 11th since March 25, including a B-52 strategic bomber, EP-3E electronic warfare and reconnaissance aircraft, RC-135U Combat Sent and P-3 Orion.

The frequent appearance of U.S. military aircrafts in the region comes as China steps up military maneuvers around Taiwan and in the South China Sea, at a time when all four U.S. aircraft carriers assigned in the Indo-Pacific region are quarantined at different ports due to coronavirus concerns.

On Monday, Chinese Navy spokesman Gao Xiucheng (高秀成) confirmed media reports that the Chinese aircraft carrier, Liaoning, and several escort ships passed through the Miyako Strait and waters east of Taiwan Saturday, heading to the South China Sea for an annual training mission.

Last week, Lin Ying-yu (林穎佑), an assistant professor at National Chung Cheng University's Institute of Strategic and International Affairs, told CNA that the presence of U.S. and Chinese military assets in the area is an indication of increased messaging efforts by both countries through more frequent muscle-flexing to boost morale at home, as both have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

(By Matt Yu and Emerson Lim)


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