In the midst of virus battle, China launches provocative military flights around Taiwan

The People’s Liberation Army sent aircraft to circle Taiwan two days in a row, starting yesterday, February 9, provoking Taiwan into scrambling armed F-16 fighters to monitor the flights, and to broadcast a warning after a PLA H-6 bomber crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait today, February 10.

President Tsai Ing-wen said via Facebook that choosing military actions during the virus outbreak made no sense, and was unnecessary, urging the Chinese government to concentrate efforts on quickly controlling the epidemic in order to ease regional and global tensions.

President Tsai pointed out that Taiwan’s military personnel, while maintaining combat readiness, were working on the front lines of epidemic prevention, with manpower dispatched to the manufacture of masks, and chemical warfare units assisting with the disinfection of ships and aircraft.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇), writing on Twitter, accused China of sending warplanes to Taiwan in an attempt to divert Chinese people’s attention from the communist regime’s inability to contain the coronavirus.

Wang was reported in Liberty Times as warning people that as the Wuhan virus spreads, popular discontent is increasing, and the CCP may use external conflict divert attention from domestic problems.

While Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense (MOD) described the flights as a threat to regional peace and stability, Beijing responded that it was a “necessary action.”

Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post quoted PLA Senior Colonel Zhang Chunhui, of the Eastern Theatre Command as saying that the exercise also involved PLA navy ships, and was completely legal and justified “in view of the current security situation across the Taiwan Strait and the need for safeguarding sovereignty.”

While more than 90% of media reports in Taiwan have focused on the “novel coronavirus” threatening to cause a deadly global pandemic, Taiwan’s Vice-President elect, William Lai has been gracing the halls of Washington DC with unprecedented access to top-notch brass, bureaucrats, and politicians.

On February 6, Willaim Lai attended the US National Prayer Breakfast, and was seen in the same room as President Donald Trump. This “signaled the closest bilateral ties since the two countries severed diplomatic relations in 1979,” according to Taiwan News.

On the same day that China reported more than 40,000 infections, 3,732 critical cases, and 908 dead from the “new coronavirus,” the leadership of the CCP seems to be more terrified by Taiwan’s friendship with other democratic nations, and the Taiwanese people’s choices in democratic elections.

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