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Taiwan air force conducts drill to intercept Chinese aircraft

As tensions with China escalate, Taiwan’s air force jets began a training exercise simulating a war scenario on Wednesday, showing its combat readiness. 

Before takeoff, flight crews, at a base in the southern city of Chiayi which is home to US-origin F-16 fighter aircraft that are frequently scrambled to intercept Chinese warplanes, rushed to ready aircraft as an alarm sounded.  

Taiwan organized the drills as part of a three-day drill to demonstrate its battle preparedness ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday at the end of the month. In recent years, tensions have increased across the Taiwan Strait, with Taiwan complaining repeatedly that Chinese aircraft have flown near the island. 

Earlier this week, Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen reiterated the need to avoid military conflict with China in her first new year message to China. As a result, Beijing issued a stern warning that if Taiwan crossed any red lines, it would result in a “profound catastrophe”. 

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