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Taiwan to strike back if Chinese military aircraft or spy balloons enter airspace: MND

If balloon is deemed threat to Taiwan, it will be 'shot down and destroyed'

Taiwan Air Force F-16 and IDF. (Taiwan Air Force photo)

Taiwan Air Force F-16 and IDF. (Taiwan Air Force photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of National Defense (MND) on Tuesday (June 27) said if any Chinese military aircraft or "entities" enter Taiwan's airspace or territorial waters and fail to heed warnings, it will strike back in self-defense.

At around 8 a.m. on Saturday (June 24), Taiwan's military detected 19 Chinese military aircraft, including Chengdu J-10 and Shenyang J-16 fighter jets. Of these 19 aircraft, eight crossed the Taiwan Strait Median Line and approached Taiwan's contiguous zone, which is 24 nautical miles off of the country's coast.

During a regularly-scheduled press conference on Tuesday, Joint Operations Planning Office Director Major General Lin Wen-huang (林文皇) said that the armed forces will continue to closely monitor developments in the Taiwan Strait and if People's Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft and ships enter Taiwan's "response area" (應變區), it will scramble combat patrol aircraft, dispatch naval vessels, and deploy land-based air defense missile systems to track and monitor their movements.

Lin emphasized that if any aircraft or "entities" of the PLA fail to heed warnings and forcibly enter Taiwan's airspace and territorial waters, the armed forces will "strike back in self-defense to resolutely safeguard the security of Taiwan's airspace and territorial waters."

The BBC program "Panorama" on Monday (June 26) published new evidence of China's spy balloon program in Asia, including photos that appear to show large Chinese balloons hovering over Japan and Taiwan.

Colonel Lo Cheng-yu (羅正宇), an intelligence officer from the Office of the Deputy Chief of the General Staff for Intelligence, pointed out that the military had fully grasped the dynamics of the PLA's high-altitude balloons around Taiwan and responded to them in a timely manner. Lo said that the armed forces also ensure the overall national defense security through information exchange and corroboration with allied countries.

Lin said that if a balloon is deemed to pose a threat to Taiwan, it will be "shot down and destroyed in order to maintain security."

Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) on Sunday (June 25) was cited by The Australian as saying that he and President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) wish to have an Australian military attache stationed at Canberra's representative office to coordinate with Taiwan’s security agencies. When asked to comment on the report on Tuesday, Loy said that when it comes to military exchanges with allied countries, the armed forces uphold a policy of "equality, mutual benefit, prudence, and optimism, and continue to promote foreign military cooperation."