TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Nearly a week after a U.S. Navy C-40a was spotted flying directly over Taiwan, China's Ministry of National Defense warned that it was "extremely dangerous" for the U.S. military to fly over Chinese "territory."
On June 9, a U.S. Navy Boeing C-40a Clipper was detected flying directly over northern and western Taiwan by aircraft spotting sites. The flight was unusual because it was the first time a U.S. military aircraft had been spotted directly over Taiwan since two Marine F-18s landed at Tainan Air Force Base for repairs in 2015.
In apparent retaliation that same day, China dispatched several Sukhoi-30 (Su-30) fighter jets to fly over the southwestern part of Taiwan's Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ). The next day (June 10), China's state-run mouthpiece the Global Times wrote: "The US warplane's rare flight over Taiwan showed the increasing collaboration between the US military and Taiwan secessionists, and the Chinese mainland's fighter jet sorties and approaches sent them a powerful warning and demonstrated how much the PLA [People's Liberation Army] was determined and prepared for war."
On June 11, China's Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) initially responded by saying that the U.S. jet had "harmed our sovereignty, security and development rights and contravened international law and the basic norms of international relations," reported VOA. It then described the action as illegal and "seriously provocative."
This week, Ministry of National Defense spokesman Senior Colonel Ren Guoqiang on Monday condemned the U.S. for not first "obtaining permission from China before flying over its territory," according to China Daily. Ren then described the incident as "extremely erroneous and dangerous."
He echoed last week's TAO statement by calling for the U.S. to end to all "provocative actions against China's sovereignty and territorial integrity," which Ren said he was confident the PLA can defend.
Ren then claimed to speak on behalf of Taiwanese by describing them as "compatriots" while pledging to protect their interests and "thwart any secessionist efforts."