Taiwan-mainland war discussions break out

By Zhang Wang and Leng Shumei Source:Global Times Published: 2016/12/18 23:58:39

PLA publishes photo of bomber flying over clouds, causes concern

A photo published by the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) showing a bomber flying above the clouds has caused great concern in Taiwan amid discussions about whether the mainland will reunify the island by force.

The PLA Air Force published the photo on its Sina Weibo account, showing an H-6K bomber flying above the clouds with two mountain peaks rising in the distance. Military commentators on the mainland believe the peaks are of a mountain in Taiwan, which has made many netizens marvel at the PLA's military capability.

However, the spokesman of Taiwan's "Defense Ministry," Chen Zhongji, told the Central News Agency that military aircraft from the mainland could only fly outside the air defense identification zone of Taiwan and the ministry could grasp their movements, saying the guesses were groundless.

Military expert Chen Weihao told Taiwan-based satellite television channel and cable TV network TVBS that it was the first time that mainland aircraft had been photographed with Taiwan landscapes, which has a psychological impact on the island.

Discussions about the possibility of the mainland reunifying Taiwan by force continues to gain momentum as pro-independence Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen keeps whipping up anti-mainland sentiment.

"The Taiwan regional government has lost its independence and become an agent of US and Japanese anti-China forces," Wang Zaixi, former vice president of the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, said at an annual meeting of the Global Times on Saturday in Beijing, adding that the mainland is the only force at present that could curb "Taiwan-independence" forces.

"Military conflicts would occur between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan by 2020. It is quite possible that the mainland will take the island in one stroke," former deputy commander of the Nanjing military region Wang Hongguang said, adding that US President-elect Donald Trump has pushed cross-Straits ties to a critical point, given his recent words on the Taiwan question.

However, Chen Yixin, a political expert from Taiwan-based Chinese Culture University, told the Global Times that Chinese leadership might not favor reunification by force, which would hurt both sides' interests. "The mainland is upset about some of Tsai's policies such as Taiwan's culture independence, but they haven't had a great impact yet," Chen said.

"Even though Tsai wants to pave the way for jurisprudential independence, she does not have the nerve to do it, and the US will not necessarily admit the independence," Chen said, adding the mainland should show some restraint.

Newspaper headline: War discussions break out in Taiwan


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