Military denies Yushan in China bomber picture

Peak likely to be Mount Beidawu in Southern Taiwan: experts

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The H-6K picture on the PLAAF's Sina Weibo account.

The H-6K picture on the PLAAF's Sina Weibo account. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Ministry of National Defense on Saturday denied that the mountain featuring in a picture of a Chinese Air Force bomber was Taiwan’s tallest peak, Yushan or Jade Mountain.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force published a picture on its official Sina Weibo account Friday of a Xi’an H-6K cruise missile bomber clearly marked with a communist red star and flying above the clouds. In the background, two mountain peaks appear above the cloud cover.

While the posting did not mention any location for the picture, Chinese media speculated it could be Taiwan’s Yushan or Mount Beidawu, on the border between Pingtung and Taitung counties.

A Chinese website wrote that a third peak had been hidden in the picture by the tail of the aircraft, which would make Mount Beidawu the more likely location for the snap, which was reportedly taken on December 10.

The report came as Chinese air force jets and navy vessels were recently found to have approached Taiwan both from the south and from the north. The sudden rise in military activity has also been linked by commentators to President Tsai Ing-wen’s December 2 call to United States President-elect Donald Trump.

A spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense in Taipei said the whole story about the picture was pure media speculation, and should not be exaggerated.

According to some sources, if a plane flew outside Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone, it would be impossible for Yushan to appear in the same picture, as it is situated about 200 kilometers inside the ADIZ. Mount Beidawu could be more likely, as planes returning to China from the Pacific could pass close by Southern Taiwan, military experts said.