MND confirms Chinese jets entered local airspace in June
By Joseph Yeh, The China PostThe Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday confirmed that two Chinese jet fighters crossed the centerline of the Taiwan Strait last month, but with no apparent hostile intent.
July 26, 2011, 11:31 pm TWN
The two People's Liberation Army Su-27 jet planes crossed the dividing line while trying to repel a United States Air Force U-2S reconnaissance plane in the South China Sea region on June 29, according to a Chinese-language United Daily News report yesterday.
The Chinese fighters that entered Republic of China airspace corrected their routes and turned back to the mainland after two Taiwanese F-16 fighters were sent to intercept, the newspaper said.
When asked to confirm the report, the MND said yesterday that it has closely monitored every move and deployment made by Chinese military.
The incident was not a deliberately provocative act initiated by the Chinese side, according to the MND.
The MND stressed that it has followed the “no provocation” principles in dealing with similar situations to minimize the risk of hostility.
The ministry further said it will continue emergency preparedness and readiness to ensure airspace safety.
The statement further said the military has consistently kept a close eye on Chinese military aircraft's activities in skies over the Taiwan Strait, which separates Taiwan and mainland China.
The Taiwan Strait centerline is an unofficial border that runs roughly midway between China and Taiwan through the Strait.
The brief traverse by Chinese jets was reportedly the first since President Ma Ying-jeou took office in 2008.
The incident drew different interpretations from lawmakers across party lines.
Opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Tsai Huang-liang called on the Presidential Office and MND to lodge protest to Beijing over the “unfriendly and provocative” move.
Chinese military should apologize over the incident and pledge not to make the same mistake that seriously violated Taiwan's sovereignty again, Tsai said.
Ruling Kuomintang (KMT) deputy caucus whip Legislator Chao Li-yun said this line-crossing incident as been interpreted as a separate case by local military.
The MND has acted in accordance with emergency response regulations by informing both the Presidential Office and the National Security Council after the Chinese jet was spotted, Chao noted.
She noted that the KMT caucus will ask the MND to make report in the Legislative Yuan after the next session begins in September.