By Aaron Tu and Jonathan Chin / Staff Reporter, with Staff Writer and Reuters
The Ministry of National Defense yesterday denied that Chinese forces had approached Penghu County, after the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) released footage purportedly recorded near the county.
China launched military drills around Taiwan after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited earlier this month, as well as during a visit by five US lawmakers on Sunday and Monday.
The PLA’s Eastern Theater Command on Monday released video footage of Penghu, apparently taken from a Chinese military plane.
Photo: I-Hwa Cheng, Bloomberg
Air Force Vice Chief of Staff for Operations Tung Pei-lun (董培倫) told reporters in Taipei that the footage constituted information warfare, although he did not made no comment on who took the video.
“China uses exaggerated tricks in cognitive warfare to create the illusion that its forces were close to Penghu, which is not true,” Tung said.
The ministry on Monday released a map showing that the Chinese planes that flew closest to Penghu that day were four J-16 fighters.
The fighters crossed the center line of the Taiwan Strait, but were closer to the Chinese coast than Penghu, according to the map.
Tung said Taiwan had a real-time understanding of what was happening in the sky, adding that Chinese planes were operating north and southwest of Taiwan, as well as across the median line.
Separately, ministry spokesperson Sun Li-fang (孫立方) said the defense budget proposal for next year has been submitted to the cabinet for approval.
The budget is based on “enemy threat assessment”, military development needs and Taiwan’s overall financial resources, he said, without providing details.
Separately, the ministry has neither denied nor confirmed a report by the South China Morning Post that the US Navy jammed the radars of PLA warships and planes to prevent them from tracking the plane that brought Pelosi in Taiwan.
China’s follow-up efforts, which involved Type 055 destroyers and electronic warfare aircraft, were largely unsuccessful due to electronic interference from the carrier strike group the US had sent to escort Pelosi, according to the Hong Kong-based newspaper, citing a PLA source.
Sun declined to comment directly on the matter, but said Chinese activities were being monitored by the Taiwan Armed Forces Joint Intelligence and Surveillance Apparatus.
Beijing’s provocations provide training opportunities for Taiwanese forces to test their vigilance, readiness and skill, while having full confidence in their ability to defend the nation, he said.
Sun also declined to say whether a post-exercise review mechanism is being established in the armed forces, saying he can only confirm that the military is focused on increasing its capabilities.
Also yesterday, the Air Force and Special Forces Command held live-fire exercises in Pingtung County involving AH-64E Apache and AH-1W Super Cobra helicopters.
Joint drills are to be held by the navy and air force in waters northeast and southwest of Taiwan tomorrow and Wednesday next week, a defense official said Monday.
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