A Chinese fighter drone flew across Taiwan today, showcasing the communist country’s ability to attack bases on the island’s east coast.
China, which views democratically governed Taiwan as its own territory, has increased military pressure on the island over the past three years as it tries to force Taipei to accept its claim to sovereignty.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said today that 38 military aircraft entered the island’s air defense identification zone.
One of those drones was the TB-001, dubbed the Double-Tailed Scorpion, which circled Taiwan, first crossing the Bashi Canal that separates Taiwan from the Philippines, then traversing eastern Taiwan before crossing back toward the Chinese coast, according to The Guardian. . Map provided by the Ministry.
It was spotted between 6 am (1000 GMT) Thursday and 6 am on Friday.
Taiwan Air Defense Identification Zone
Chih Chung, a military researcher with the National Research Foundation in Taiwan, said that during a war, China would likely send TB-001 to locate targets on the east coast of the island, where Taiwan would house reserve forces, since there are no bases there. face china.
“It will allow the communist army’s naval and air forces in the western Pacific, including air strike groups or carrier battle groups, to launch attacks” on the east coast, he said.
He added that this is not the first time a Chinese drone has flown around Taiwan, but it is likely the first time it has done so entirely within Taiwan’s air defense zone.
Chinese state media referred to the TB-001 as a ‘double-tailed scorpion’ and showed images of it carrying missiles, saying it was capable of long-range, high-altitude missions.
The Chinese Air Force has carried out what it calls “island encirclement” missions with its nuclear-capable manned H-6 bomber.
Tensions over Taiwan have alarmed Washington and its allies, who have repeatedly expressed concern about China’s behavior and called for no forced change in the status quo.
A US Navy P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance and maritime patrol aircraft flew through the Taiwan Strait on Friday, and a senior French lawmaker confirmed that a warship from his country had recently crossed the sensitive waterway.
The United States, and sometimes its allies, have routinely sent warships and aircraft through the Taiwan Strait in recent years.
The US Navy’s Seventh Fleet said the Poseidon flew into international airspace.
A TB-001, nicknamed the “Twin-tailed Scorpion,” operates an unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) during the China 2022 Airshow at Zhuhai Air Center on November 9, 2022 in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, China.
“By operating within the Taiwan Strait in accordance with international law, the United States supports the navigational rights and freedoms of all nations,” it said in a statement. The aircraft’s crossing of the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to the “free and open Indo-Pacific.”
The Chinese military said it monitored the planes and accused the United States of provocative behavior in the strait.
China said last year that it has sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the Taiwan Strait, and said referring to the strait as international waters was a “false claim”.
Both the United States and Taiwan say that China’s position is incorrect.
A French lawmaker and former defense minister said during her meeting with Tsai at her office in Taipei on Friday that sending a warship through the strait showed his country’s commitment to security.
“I want to tell you that it is our Parliament’s view that the security of Taiwan is an important concern of ours and we encourage our authorities to remain alert on security in the straits, as the recent passage of our warship once again demonstrated.” said Senate Vice President Alan Richard.
He did not say when the sailing would take place, and the French and Taiwanese governments have not officially confirmed the details. Taiwan’s defense ministry said this month that it was aware of the crossing.
French President Emmanuel Macron recently warned against being drawn into a crisis over Taiwan prompted by “American cadence and Chinese overreaction.”