Chinese combat drone 'circles' Taiwan, claims Taipei

<p><em>(File photo)</em></p>

(File photo)

ANKARA – At least 38 Chinese aircraft and a combat drone crossed the Taiwan Strait early Friday, the island nation’s Defense Ministry claimed.

The Chinese jets, including the TB-001 drone, crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait and entered Taiwan’s southwest, southeast, and northeast air defense identification zone (ADIZ), according to the ministry which also released the flight paths of the Chinese jets.

However, the flight path of the TB-001 drone showed it made a circle around the island nation, home to around 24 million people.

Beijing does not acknowledge the median line or the ADIZ.

Taiwanese armed forces “monitored the situation while they also tasked its aircraft, navy vessels, and land-based missile systems to respond to these activities,” said the statement.

Besides jets, six Chinese naval vessels were also detected by the island nation.

“The TB-001 drone flew to the southern tip of the ADIZ and then to its southeastern and eastern sections before returning from air space north of the Island,” Taipei-based Focus Taiwan reported, citing Taiwanese defense officials.

The drone, also known as the “Twin-Tailed Scorpion,” is a medium-altitude, long-range combat unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) manufactured by China's Sichuan Tengden Technology, according to the report.

Drone flying around Taiwan, which China claims as its “breakaway province,” comes as a US reconnaissance aircraft also flew over Taiwan Strait.

Colonel Shi Yi, a spokesman for the Eastern Theater Command of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), said: “A US P-8A anti-submarine patrol aircraft flew over the Taiwan Strait.”

The PLA flew its jets and followed the US plane.

The Chinese military official recalled that the US warships and planes “have frequently carried out provocative actions, fully proving that the US is a disruptor of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and a creator of security risks in the Taiwan Strait.” (Anadolu)