Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Monday, July 25, 2011

Chinese fighters ‘repel’ US aircraft

Two Chinese fighter jets crossed the middle line in the Taiwan Strait late last month for the first time in more than a decade to repel a US spy aircraft, according to defence sources in Taipei and Beijing.

This marks the first known encounter between US and Chinese military aircraft in mid-air since a US reconnaissance aircraft collided with a Chinese fighter jet in 2001 and was forced to land on Hainan island, sparking a crisis that severely damaged bilateral relations.

The incident in the Taiwan Strait comes as the US and China are trying hard not to let rising tensions in the South China Sea derail a recent improvement in bilateral military relations.

Highlighting the strategic rivalry between the two countries in the region and the security risks remaining between China and Taiwan despite the recent detente between the two, Taipei moved to downplay the incident.

Taiwan’s defence ministry confirmed that two Chinese Su-27 fighter jets had briefly crossed the so-called middle line on June 29 but added the incident was not a provocation.

“This was not between Taiwan and China, but between China and the US,” said a senior Taiwanese defence official. “The Chinese crossed the line to repel a perceived intrusion by a US reconnaissance aircraft.”

A Chinese defence source said: “This once again shows that US military activity very close to our territory is a destabilising factor in the region.” (more)