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Amid Japan's concerns, Air Force removes 'kill' markings from jets

Amid Japan's concerns, Air Force removes 'kill' markings from jets

Taipei, June 30 (CNA) Taiwan's military has recently removed Japanese flags from two of its jet fighters slated to appear in an upcoming military display to mark the 70th anniversary of the Republic of China's victory over Japan in WWII, after the move sparked Japan's concern. The Ministry of National Defense organized a media tour June 8 to reveal the special designs painted on a U.S.-made F-16 jet fighter and a locally developed Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF) jet, in the Air Force's fleet. At the time, the Air Force said the designs were to commemorate the war-end anniversary and the cooperation between the ROC and the United States in the War of Resistance against Japan (1937-1945). The war was a part of WWII, in which Japan and the other Axis Powers were defeated. On the F-16, there is a cartoon flying tiger caricature painted on the fuselage, along with a shark's mouth on the nose of the fighter, to commemorate the contributions of the American Volunteer Group (AVG), better known as the Flying Tigers, to the ROC's fight against Japan. The F-16 fighter also had 16 small Japanese national flags painted on the fuselage, representing the number of Japanese planes shot down by Robert Neale, head of the AVG's 1st Squadron, Taiwan's Air Force said during the media tour. Similarly, the special design for the IDF included five small Japanese national flags, representing the number of Japanese aircraft shot down by Maj. Gen. Hsu Hua-chiang (???), a ROC pilot in a squadron of the Chinese American Composite Wing, a joint U.S.-ROC air force unit that existed from 1943-1945, according to the Air Force. Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Luo Shou-he (???) said Tuesday that the Japanese flags have been removed from the fighters to avoid any "misunderstanding" and unnecessary speculation. There have been mixed views from different sides and the ministry valued those opinions, he added. He stressed that the painted art on the jets was meant to represent the historic facts, remind the people of the brutalities of war and jointly pursue and cherish peace. The Japanese flags were removed from the two fighters about two weeks ago, an Air Force source said. The two fighters will be among more than 60 aircraft to participate in a flyover at the military display set for July 4 at an army base in Hukou, Hsinchu County. Asked about the issue, Foreign Minister David Lin (???) told the local media that Japan has brought up the paintings of the Japanese flags to his ministry. The Japanese officials said that the move should be in line with historic facts and that the IDF and the F-16 fighters were not used in the war against Japan, Lin said. Lin said the foreign ministry passed on Japan's remarks to the Defense Ministry. The Air Force later made the adjustments. But Lin stressed that Japan did not give pressure on this issue. Following the June 8 media tour, reports emerged that the paintings of Japanese national flags had raised concerns from Japanese officials, and the Air Force responded that the move was simply aimed at commemorating the anniversary and paying tribute to those who made contributions to the ROC victory over Japan. At that time, the Air Force said that it emulated the U.S. forces' practice during WWII to paint Japanese flags on military aircraft to represent the number of Japanese military planes shot down by the pilot, urging against any unnecessary speculation. Victory markings or kill markings were miniature enemy flags or other symbols painted on the fuselage of aircraft and other military hardware used by several nations during WWII to commemorate a significant victory such as the destruction of an enemy aircraft. After the end of the war against Japan in 1945, the Chinese civil war intensified. The ROC government relocated to Taiwan in 1949 after losing the war to the Chinese communist forces. (By Lu Hsin-hui, Hsieh Chia-chen and Elaine Hou)


Updated : 2021-09-21 22:33 GMT+08:00