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US, Russia military planes fly in ROC ADIZ: report

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- American and Russian military aircraft have been frequently found in Taiwan's aerial identification zone in the wake of escalating tensions in the East China Sea late last year, a local newspaper said yesterday.

Citing a briefing made by the R.O.C. Air Force recently, the Chinese-language United Evening News said yesterday that the Air Force has sent more than 160 sorties of locally made indigenous defense fighter (IDF) jets from their base in the southern city of Tainan to intercept unidentified foreign military aircraft that were found entering Taiwan's Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) since October 2013.

The number is significantly higher than the same number before October 2013.

From 2011 to September 2013, the Air Force only sent a total of 30 sorties of IDF jets from Tainan to intercept foreign military aircraft that entered Taiwan's ADIZ, the report said.

A senior Air Force official, who prefers to stay anonymous, told the newspaper that most of these unidentified fighter jets belong to the American and Russian militaries.

Most of the Russian military aircraft are Russian Tupolev Tu-95 bombers, while most of the American aircraft found in Taiwan's ADIZ are P-3C anti-submarine aircraft.

The Russian aircraft were mostly heading southbound to Vietnam and the American ones were often on their way to the Philippines, the official told the newspaper.

But no Chinese military aircraft have been spotted in Taiwan's air space so far, the source said.

The source said the Air Force was uncertain about the reason for more frequent trespassing into Taiwan's air space made by foreign military aircraft.

But the timing for these incidents could be tied to the escalating tensions in the East China Sea after China's demarcation of its own ADIZ in the East China Sea in November 2013, a move that angered many countries, including Japan, South Korea and the United States.

Taiwan also expressed its concern over the matter, saying that the move could jeopardize cross-strait ties.

Not All 160 Sorties 'Interceptions': Air Force

When asked to comment on the report, the Air Force said yesterday it did send more than 160 IDF sorties from its base in the Southern city of Tainan to conduct missions since October 2013.

However, not all of the missions are launched to “intercept” foreign military aircraft as claimed in the newspaper report.

Most of the missions the IDFs conduct are regular patrol missions or missions to safeguard Taiwanese fishing operations in Taiwanese territorial waters, the Air Force said.

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