Chinese fighter jets could reach Taiwan Presidential Office in minutes: expert

Taiwan’s defense ministry reported on April 21, Chinese fighter jets were only 76 km from Keelung outside Taipei.
By RFA Staff
Chinese fighter jets  could reach Taiwan Presidential Office in minutes: expert A PLA aircraft flies over the 68-nautical-mile scenic spot, one of mainland China's closest points to the island of Taiwan, in Pingtan island, Fujian province, China on Aug. 5, 2022.
Aly Song/Reuters

A Taiwanese military expert has warned that Chinese military aircraft are now flying closer to Taipei on a regular basis and could reach the Presidential Office within minutes.

Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Chang Yen-ting said that, according to Ministry of National Defense’s data, on Apr. 21, two Chinese fighter jets were spotted 41 nautical miles (76 kilometers) away from Keelung, a port city just 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) north of Taipei.

“That means they would need only around five minutes to reach the Presidential Office,” Chang told Radio Free Asia.

Taiwan’s military jets would take at least six minutes to take off in order to intercept the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft, the retired general turned military expert said.

“The Taiwanese air force won’t be able to deal with it effectively,” Chang added.

According to Taiwan defense ministry’s daily reports, Chinese warplanes and vessels are now crossing the median line of the Taiwan Strait – which serves as the de-facto boundary between Taiwan and mainland China – on a daily basis.

Experts say Beijing has established a “new normal” in the Strait to exert pressure on Taipei.

Responding to the general’s warning, Taiwan’s defense minister Chiu Kuo-cheng was quoted by the official Central News Agency as saying that the Taiwanese military has a regular intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance system in place precisely for the purpose of preventing such scenarios from happening. He did not elaborate further.

President-elect Lai Ching-te announced Thursday the names of ministers of defense and foreign affairs among new posts in his cabinet. Lai will be sworn in officially on May 20 after winning the election in January.

His party – the Democratic Progressive Party – has been in power since 2016 and before that, between 2000-2008.

Koo Lin.JPG
Incoming Defence Minister Wellington Koo (left) and incoming Foreign Minister Lin Chia-lung attend a press conference where new cabinet members are announced, in Taipei, Taiwan on April 25, 2024. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

The current National Security Council (NSC) Secretary-General Wellington Koo, a former lawyer, will replace Chiu Kuo-cheng as minister of national defense.

Former Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung will become foreign minister, replacing Joseph Wu, who has been appointed NSC secretary-general.

Edited by Taejun Kang and Mike Firn.


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