BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:30 P.M.) – On Tuesday, the Taiwan Air Force sent aircraft to intercept Chinese fighters who approached the island, which Beijing considers part of its territory, while the tensions between the two sides entered a possibly dangerous military dimension.
The Taiwan Ministry of Defense said their air force had warned a number of Chinese fighter planes that they had briefly entered its air defense zone in the southwest of the island.
The ministry said that the Chinese fighters were the Russian-made Su-30 warplanes, one of the most advanced in China.
“The Taiwan Air Force warned the Chinese fighters and asked them to leave immediately,” they said.
According to Reuters, they noted that “the Taiwan air fighters confronted them and forced them to leave.”
Taiwan has complained that China has intensified its military activities in recent months, threatening its security, while China says it is carrying out such exercises regularly.
In the same context, the United States intensified its military activities near the island as well, with semi-regular naval incursions across the narrow Taiwan Strait.
The Taiwan Ministry of Defense said in a separate statement on Tuesday that the American C-40A plane, a military version of the Boeing 737, entered Taiwan’s airspace with permission, although it did not land at any Taiwan airport.
According to Reuters, the American plane took off from the Japanese island of Okinawa, where there is a major American air base, and it flew over northern and western Taiwan on its way to Southeast Asia.
It is noteworthy to mention that Washington and Taipei (the capital of Taiwan) do not have formal diplomatic relations, but the United States is the strongest international supporter and major supplier of arms to Taiwan, which brings another source of tension between the United States and China.