PLA bombers approach Taiwan island from the east

By Liu Xuanzun Source:Global Times Published: 2020/6/28 23:24:55

A Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) air force formation conducts island patrols during training on April 26, 2018. The formation was made up of fighters, early warning and surveillance aircraft, and H-6K bombers, which took off from various military airfields. The formation flew over the Miyako Strait and Bashi Channel, completing an island patrol, the subject of the training. (Xinhua/Wu Yuepeng)


Two bombers of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) reportedly approached the island of Taiwan from the east after crossing the Miyako Strait on Sunday, after PLA aircraft conducted at least eight sorties to Taiwan's southwestern "airspace" in June alone.

The two H-6K bombers on Sunday flew through the Miyako Strait from the East China Sea, entered the Pacific Ocean, approached Taiwan Island from the east, then returned to base via the same route, according to a press release by Japan's Defense Ministry Joint Staff on the same day.

Taiwan media said Sunday that there have been no similar missions by the PLA recently, and the Taiwan military was still confirming if the PLA bombers indeed returned from the same route they came, or returned after crossing the Bashi Channel.

By flying through airspace to the east of Taiwan, the PLA showed it can not only strike targets in western Taiwan, but also on the eastern side of the island. From there, PLA warplanes can also conduct anti-access and area denial missions and keep foreign interventions away, a Chinese mainland military expert told the Global Times on Sunday under condition of anonymity.

Prior to the Sunday operation by the H-6Ks, the PLA has sent military aircraft to Taiwan's southwestern "airspace" at least eight times this month. A variety of military aircraft including the J-10, J-11, and Su-30 fighter jets, and Y-8 special mission aircraft were involved, according to information released by Taiwan's defense authority.

Many of these missions were believed to be countermeasures against US military aircraft approaches to or even crossing of Taiwan Island.

Chinese mainland military expert and TV commentator Song Zhongping told the Global Times that the PLA operations from both the east and southwest of Taiwan indicate that the PLA is training to suppress the potential US and Japanese reinforcements coming from Guam and the Ryukyu Islands through the Miyako Strait east of Taiwan and through the Bashi, Balintang, and Babuyan channels southwest of Taiwan.

The PLA could use these operations to effectively lockdown the area from foreign forces while ensuring that Taiwan's forces cannot escape, Song noted.

When asked about Taiwan's close interactions with the US in the past month, Senior Colonel Wu Qian, a Chinese Defense Ministry spokesperson, said at a regular press conference on Wednesday that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China, and Taiwan affairs are purely China's internal affairs that brook no external interference.

The PLA has been on high alert, and has the firm resolve, full confidence and sufficient capabilities to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity and maintain peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits, Wu said.

Posted in: MILITARY

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