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Debris from China's Long March rocket falls in waters north of Taiwan

China launches weather satellite on rocket with wreckage safely falling into area of no-fly zone

Projected trajectory of Long March 4B rocket on April 16. (Twitter, <a href="" target="_blank">Duang Dang</a> image)

Projected trajectory of Long March 4B rocket on April 16. (Twitter, Duang Dang image)

China launched a Fengyun-3G (風雲三號) weather satellite at 9:36 a.m. Sunday (April 16) aboard a Long March 4B rocket with debris falling safely into an area off the north coast of Taiwan.

Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) monitored the launch through special surveillance and reconnaissance, and found the debris falling into a specially designated warning area and not posing a threat to individuals, property, or Taiwan's homeland security.

An MND press release this morning said China launched a satellite from Jiuquan, Gansu Province at 9:36 a.m., and its orbit passed over the northern seas of Taiwan. Some rocket debris fell into an area that had been previously identified as a no-fly area.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China has issued notification of a warning from 9:30 to 9:57 a.m. that it was engaging in aerospace activities in the Taipei Flight Aviation Region (FIR) with a special request to control flights around this particular area.

Taiwan’s Civil Aviation Administration recently coordinated with Japan’s Fukuoka FIR to designate temporary air routes and handover points to provide flight paths that avoid the designated no-fly zone during China's aerospace activities this morning.

Flightradar24 showed that starting at 9:30 a.m. a warning area within Taipei’s FIR could be seen with no planes flying to and from Taiwan via the northern air route. Each flight flew to the east of Taiwan first, bypassed the warning area, and then returned to the original route.

It wasn’t until 10:10 a.m. that the no-fly warning was lifted and at 10:20 a.m. normal traffic resumed.

Taiwan Minister of Transport and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) appeared in the legislature a few days ago noting that due to Taiwan’s protest, China’s aerospace activities had been shortened from an original 3 days to just 27 minutes, affecting some 33 flights to Northeast Asia and North America.