US military aircraft sighted near Taiwan’s airspace for 8th day counting

Movements said to have something to do with China’s submarine activity

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P-8A Poseidon (Facebook, U.S. Navy photo)

P-8A Poseidon (Facebook, U.S. Navy photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon airplane was spotted flying over the Bashi Channel on Sunday (June 28), marking eight days in a row that U.S. military aircraft sightings were reported near Taiwan's airspace.

The aircraft was seen taking the route south of Taiwan over the waterway separating the island country and the Philippines, according to Twitter user South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative (SCSPI). The account is operated by China's Peking University Institute of Ocean Research.

The P-8A Poseidon is the U.S. Navy reconnaissance aircraft carrying out maritime patrol missions and capable of engaging in anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare. A P-3C Orion surveillance aircraft was also purportedly spotted during the period, though the accuracy of the spotting was unconfirmed according to SCSPI.

A dozen U.S. warplanes have been sighted in the region over the past weeks, including maneuvers of P-8A, RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft, and a C-17A transport plane on Thursday (June 25) in the South China Sea. Experts believe the missions could be associated with the actions of the PLA's nuclear-powered submarines in proximity to the Philippine Sea, wrote the South China Morning Post.

The Ministry of National Defense (MND) declined to comment on Sunday's aerial activity other than to say that the airspace and seas were being monitored and that there was no cause for concern, wrote CNA.