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Taiwanese Air Force Trains to Intercept Chinese Planes Amid Tensions


A Taiwan C-130 flies past two F-16V fighter planes during training in Chiayi, Taiwan, January 5, 2022. REUTERS/Ann Wang
Taiwanese Air Force Trains to Intercept Chinese Planes Amid Tensions
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Taiwanese military planes took part in a war training exercise Wednesday.

The flights were part of a three-day training event to demonstrate Taiwan's battle readiness before the Lunar New Year holiday at the end of January.

Before takeoff, flight crews at a base in the southern city of Chiayi hurried to prepare aircraft as an alarm sounded.

“…Pilots from our wing are very experienced and have dealt with almost all types of their aircraft," Major Yen Hsiang-sheng told reporters. The officer also talked about an incident late last year in which he was deployed to intercept Chinese fighter planes.

Tensions between mainland China and Taiwan have been rising in the past few years. China considers the island a rebel province. And it has not ruled out using force to control Taiwan.

Chinese military aircraft often fly into the southwestern part of Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ). Taiwan has protested the flights.

Taiwan has termed China's activities as "grey zone" warfare. It says China is trying to tire Taiwan's forces by making them repeatedly react to aggressive action. Taiwan’s National Defense spokesman said the island’s armed forces were "reinforcing their defense capabilities" for the country's security.

In a new year message for China last week, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said military conflict is not the answer. China answered with a strong warning. It said, if Taiwan crossed any red line it would lead to a "profound catastrophe."

I’m Caty Weaver.

Caty Weaver adapted this story for VOA Learning English from reports by Reuters News Agency and The Associated Press.

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Words in This Story

alarm n. a signal (such as a loud noise or flashing light) that warns or alerts

intercept v. to stop, seize, or interrupt in progress or course or before arrival

red line n. a point of no return

profound adj. characterized by the intensity of feeling or quality

catastrophe n. a terrible disaster

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