A US Navy C-40 transport aircraft flew north to south inland of Taiwan’s west coast this morning, while Chinese Su-30 fighters entered Taiwan’s airspace, causing Taiwan to scramble its own jets in response.
A press release by the Ministry of Defense (MOD) confirmed the aircraft movements, denying rumors that the American aircraft had landed briefly at Ching Chuan Kang Air Base in Taichung City.
The US Navy plane had followed standard procedures and had been given permission according to the MOD statement.
According to aircraft spotters, the C-40 transport plane had taken off from Okinawa at 9:00 am, and after flying along Taiwan’s west coast, continued over the South China Sea, and crossed Vietnamese airspace, en route to Thailand.
While the route was noted as unusual, a military expert was quoted in China Times as saying that the route may be a diversion due to Taiwan conducting live fire exercises off the east coast.
Zhang Jing, a researcher of the Chinese Strategic Society said that the usual route for the military transport craft between bases in Okinawa and Thailand is G581 running to the east of Taiwan. However, it’s quite likely that due to live fire exercises being carried out on the east coast, the plane diverted to civilian aviation route R595, for safety reasons.
According to the MOD, several Chinese People’s Liberation Army fighters entered Taiwan airspace in the south-west, Taiwan scrambled jets and gave verbal warnings for the pilots to leave.
A precise time for the incursion was not given, but it occurred this morning, according to the press release and subsequent media reports.
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