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US Bombers Fly Near Taiwan After Chinese ‘Aggression’; Beijing Warned To “Focus On Fighting Coronavirus”

US Bombers Fly Near Taiwan After Chinese ‘Aggression’; Beijing Warned To “Focus On Fighting Coronavirus”

Though all eyes are on the deadly coronavirus pandemic, another dangerous military close encounter just played out off Taiwan’s coast on Wednesday.

“Three U.S. Air Force planes, including two B-52 bombers, flew near Taiwan on Wednesday, the island’s defense ministry said, after Taiwan’s air force scrambled earlier in the week to intercept Chinese jets,” Reuters reports. 

The prior Sunday and Monday incidents involved Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) bombers and fighters approaching the self-declared Republic of China (Taiwan), before Taiwan scrambled its own US-supplied F-16 fighters to shadow the ‘invading’ aircraft.

Chinese air force H-6 bomber near a Taiwan F-16. February 10 photo by Taiwan Ministry of National Defense, via Reuters.

A senior US State Department official in the region called China’s behavior “completely inappropriate” and condemned the “aggressive act.”

Wednesday’s “response” by the Americans consisted in the following

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said one U.S. MC-130, a special mission aircraft based on the C-130 Hercules transport aircraft, flew down the Taiwan Strait in a southerly direction on Wednesday.

The two U.S. B-52 bombers skirted Taiwan’s east coast, also in a southerly direction, the ministry added.

Beijing has been engaged in provocative “island encirclement drills” somewhat routinely over the past half decade, resulting in multiple close encounters with US and Taiwanese forces, especially in the air and water, especially the contested Taiwan Strait.

Taiwan Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou pledged that such Chinese aggression will only “deepen cooperation with countries with similar ideals, including the United States, in response to the rising Chinese military threat.”

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