Chinese Air Force circles Taiwan in latest drill (update)

Taipei, China's Air Force conducted a long-range drill on Friday that had aircraft circling Taiwan in opposite directions, according to a statement from Taiwan's Air Force Command Headquarters.

The exercise featured such aircraft as the Xian H-6K bomber, Su-35 and J-11 fighters, the Shaanxi Y-8 transport plane, early warning aircraft Kj-2000 and Tu-154 electronic surveillance aircraft, but neither Taipei nor Beijing disclosed the number of aircraft involved.

Taiwan deployed its own Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF) and F-16 jets to tail the Chinese fleet and monitor the situation. Taiwan's Air Force later updated photos onto its official Facebook page to show that it effectively followed the movements of the Chinese aircraft.

According to the statement, the Chinese planes traveling on a northern route went through the Miyako Strait and then the Bashi Channel before returning to base, while the ones on a southern route flew in the reverse direction back to base.

The PLA's Air Force put up a post on the drill on its official social media account, with a spokesman saying that it will continue to circle Taiwan as planned and is confident that it can defend China's sovereignty and its territorial integrity.

Beijing considers self-governed Taiwan to be part of its territory, while most people in Taiwan see it as a country separate from China.

In recent months, such drills from the PLA have become more common. The PLA's Air Force conducted a similar drill at the end of April following a live-fire military exercise at sea on April 18.

The Mainland Affairs Council, Taiwan's top agency in charge of China policy, put out a statement later in the evening calling Beijing's drills damaging to peace across the Taiwan Strait.

It reiterated that Taiwan will not surrender to any Chinese military threats.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel