TAPEI, June 12 (Sputnik) - Taiwan’s air force scrambled fighters to ward off a Chinese Y-8 aircraft on Friday after the plane crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait. The incident comes a day after Taiwan tested a new anti-air missile and at the end of a week of sparring over the autonomous island’s airspace.
On Friday, a Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Y-8 transport plane was turned away from Taiwanese airspace by interceptors from the island, Taiwan Central News Agency reported, citing the Ministry of National Defense.
“We detected the Chinese Communist Yun-8 aircraft flying southwest into Taiwan this morning and immediately dispatched our fighter jets to shadow it and disperse through radio warning,” the defense ministry said, according to the South China Morning Post (SCMP).
However, reports indicate the Y-8 crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait, which is not where Taiwan’s territory begins, meaning the plane was over international waters.
Beijing’s Global Times noted it’s unclear which variety of Y-8 was involved, as some perform simple transport duties while others are capable of a variety of electronic intelligence roles.
The incident comes a day after Taiwan tested a Tien Kung-3 surface-to-air missile intended to intercept incoming ballistic missiles. According to the SCMP, which cited comments on a Taiwanese lawmaker’s Facebook page, the projectile was fired at an older Tien Kung-2 missile, successfully intercepting it.
It also comes at the end of a week full of such incidents. On Monday, a US Navy C-40A Clipper cargo plane was permitted to fly across the island, and on Tuesday, Taiwanese jets scrambled to intercept Chinese Su-30 fighters that crossed the median line. Beijing lodged strong complaints with Washington, claiming the move was “provocative,” as Beijing regards Taiwan as a rebellious province of China, even though it has ruled itself since 1949.