TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Shortly after noon on Monday, April 15, a squadron of numerous Chinese warplanes transited the Bashi Channel south of Taiwan, as confirmed by the Ministry of Defense (MND).
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), speaking at an event hosted by the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) celebrating 40 year of the Taiwan Relations Act, condemned the actions of China as undermining peace and stability across the strait.
The group of warplanes reportedly consisted of range of aircraft, including H-6K bombers, Shenyang J-11 fighters, Sukhoi Su-30 fighters, Shaanxi Y-8 transport aircraft, and a KJ-500 spy plane, reports ET Today.
The warplanes reportedly headed Southeast through the Bashi Channel, skirting the Taiwan Strait, to enter the Western Pacific for training exercises. With the exception of one of the H-6K bombers, which returned through the Miyako Strait, the planes returned along the same route.
The MND confirmed the passage of the PLAN aircraft in a statement Monday afternoon, stating that the Chinese government is attempting to disrupt the status-quo, and influence public opinion in Taiwan with their reckless actions.
However, the MND emphasized that Taiwan’s armed forces remain on alert and are prepared for any contingency, should Chinese aircraft threaten the safety of the country by entering Taiwanese airspace.
President Tsai, in her address at the AIT event, declared that such military operations by China pose a serious challenge to regional stability. In light of the challenges Taiwan faces, Tsai emphasized the importance of the U.S.-Taiwan alliance under the TRA, reports Liberty Times.
Recently on March 31, two Chinese Shenyang J-11 fighter jets crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait for the first time since 1999, with Taiwanese jets scrambled in response. Following the incident, President Tsai issued a standing order to the MND to forcefully expel any Chinese aircraft crossing into Taiwan’s airspace.
President Tsai addressing the AIT event, April 15 (Central News Agency photo)