2 US bombers fly near Taipei's airspace

Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense does not deny report, says it continues to monitor country's airspace

  4128
B-52 bomber flies over Pabrade, Lithuania during 'Iron Wolf 2016' military exercise.

B-52 bomber flies over Pabrade, Lithuania during 'Iron Wolf 2016' military exercise. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Two American B-52 bombers flew near Taipei's sky on Wednesday (Dec. 4) en route to Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, marking the plane's first known flight over the Taipei Flight Information Region (FIR) in the East China Sea.

Taiwanese Chinese-language media outlets reported the transit by citing a tweet by Aircraft Spots, saying it was the first known passage of the U.S. Air Force's legendary B-52 Stratofortress over the Taipei FIR out of multiple missions conducted throughout the South China and East China Seas.

Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) did not deny the report but on Thursday (Dec. 5) emphasized that the ministry has been well informed of any movements within the airspace and waters around the country's territory.

The U.S. Air Force is believed to have deployed at least six B-52 bombers, which have a range of over 14,000 kilometers, in Guam. The bomber can be loaded with nuclear gravity bombs and cruise missiles among other ordnance and can reach Taiwan within four hours from Andersen Air Force Base.

Some military buffs were quoted as saying that the bombers might be conducting attack simulation exercises while passing through the Taipei FIR.

The bombers are said to have flown over the South China and East China Seas more frequently this year. However, the U.S. military has emphasized that these were merely "continuous bomber presence mission[s]."