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Taiwan admits to lack of careful consideration on 'kill' marks

Taiwan admits to lack of careful consideration on 'kill' marks

Taipei, July 1 (CNA) Taiwan's Air Force admitted Wednesday to failing to think the issue through before painting Japanese flags on two modern fighter jets that will appear in an upcoming military display to mark the 70th anniversary of the Republic of China's victory over Japan in the second Sino-Japanese War. It is undeniable that "we did not give (the move) careful consideration," said Lt. Gen. Chang Che-ping (???) at a news conference.
A day earlier, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) confirmed that the Japanese national flags on the fighters had been removed amid Japan's concerns. At the suggestion of some military experts and fans, the Air Force painted several historical icons related to the war against Japan on the fighters to commemorate the anniversary of the end of the 1937-1945 conflict and the cooperation between the ROC and the United States, Chang explained. Among the icons on a U.S.-made F-16 jet fighter and a locally developed Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF) jet were Japanese flags to symbolize the number of Japanese military planes shot down during the war.
The special designs on the fighters were revealed during a media tour organized by the Defense Ministry on June 8. The move drew mixed reviews, however, and the Air Force decided to remove the Japanese flags after finding out that no other countries have painted kill marks on modern jet fighters as part of commemorative events marking the World War II anniversary. Chang denied that the Air Force buckled to external pressure in removing the Japanese flags from the aircraft on June 19.
Asked about the issue, Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Luo Shou-he (???) said Japanese officials raised the issue with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which then expressed the view to the MND that it was inappropriate to paint the flags on modern fighters not in use during the 1937-1945 war. The Defense Ministry later agreed to make the adjustments to better represent historical facts, he added, but denied receiving any pressure from Japan or other external sources on the issue. Although the Japanese flags were removed from the modern jet fighters, the kill markings on a replica Curtiss P-40 Warhawk plane remain to represent the five Japanese planes shot down by a ROC pilot during the war.
It will go on display at the July 4 military display as scheduled, the Air Force said. The P-40 was a widely produced American fighter plane during WWII and was flown by the Flying Tigers. All other special markings on the F-16 and the IDF will remain when the fighters participate in a flyover at the July 4 event. On the F-16, there is a cartoon-like flying tiger 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. Similarly, the special designs for the IDF include a shark's mouth on the side of the fighter and 12 blue and white stripes -- a symbol of the 12 rays of sun on the ROC national flag -- on the tail of the fighter. The markings symbolize the Chinese-American Composite Wing, a joint U.S.-ROC air force unit that existed from 1943-1945, the Air Force said. The Air Force said it was aimed at demonstrating the friendship between the two countries in the war. (By Elaine Hou)


Updated : 2021-09-24 01:27 GMT+08:00