Taiwan air force scrambles as Chinese bombers fly round island

Taiwan is China's most sensitive territorial issue and a potential dangerous military flashpoint.

Published: 25th May 2018 12:08 PM  |   Last Updated: 25th May 2018 12:08 PM   |  A+A-

A Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force Su-30 fighter, right, flies along with a H-6K bomber as they take part in a drill near the East China Sea. (File Photo | AP)

Chinese Air Force fighters (File Photo | AP)

By Reuters

TAIPEI: Taiwan's air force scrambled aircraft on Friday as Chinese bombers flew around the self-ruled island, just a few hours after Taiwan vowed not to be cowed having lost another diplomatically amid growing Chinese pressure.

Taiwan is China's most sensitive territorial issue and a potential dangerous military flashpoint.

China claims the island as its sacred territory and has vowed not to allow any attempts at what it views as Taiwan separatism.

Tension between democratic Taiwan and its big neighbour has increased in recent months, with China suspicious the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen wants to push for the island's formal independence.

Tsai, who took offer in 2016, says she wants to maintain the status quo, but will protect Taiwan's security and not be bullied by Beijing.

In the latest flight by Chinese aircraft around Taiwan, two H-6 bombers passed through the Bashi Channel which separates Taiwan from the Philippines in the early hours of Friday and then rounded Taiwan via Japan's Miyako Strait, to Taiwan's northeast, the island's defence ministry said.

Taiwan aircraft accompanied and monitored the Chinese bombers throughout, the ministry said, describing the Chinese aircraft as being on a long-range training mission.

The people of Taiwan should not be alarmed as the air force was well able to monitor the Chinese aircraft as they approach and during their missions and can ensure Taiwan's security, the ministry added.

There was no immediate word from China.

It has said these missions, which have become increasingly frequent, are to send a warning to Taiwan not to engage in separatist activity.

On Thursday, Taiwan lost its second diplomatic ally in less than a month when Burkina Faso said it had cut ties with the island, following intense Chinese pressure on African countries to break with what it regards as a wayward province.

Tsai said Taiwan would not engage in "dollar diplomacy" and denounced Beijing's methods, saying Taiwan and its partners in the international community would not cower to China's pressure.

Taiwan has only one diplomatic ally left in Africa – the tiny kingdom of Swaziland - and formal relations with just 18 countries worldwide, many of them poor countries in Central America and the Pacific like Belize and Nauru.

 

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp