Disappeared after an hour: Taiwan discovers Chinese balloon off its coast

Disappeared after an hour
Taiwan discovers Chinese balloon off its coast

Chinese fighter jets fly near the Taiwanese coast almost daily. The People’s Republic counts the island state as part of its territory. Now Taiwan has discovered a weather balloon – until it suddenly disappears.

The Taiwanese armed forces say they have discovered a Chinese weather balloon off the coast of the island nation. The balloon crossed the middle line in the strait between Taiwan and China on Thursday afternoon, the Ministry of Defense in the capital Taipei said in a statement Explanation with. According to the agency, the aircraft was at an altitude of 21,000 feet (about 6,400 meters) and about 101 nautical miles (about 187 kilometers) from the city of Keelung when it was discovered. An hour later, at 12:55 p.m., the balloon disappeared again.

“According to our initial findings, it was a tracking balloon,” Taiwan’s Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng told reporters in parliament. It was “presumably” used for unknown measurements. Chiu said seasonal winds may have pushed the balloon so far east.

The incident is reminiscent of a suspected Chinese spy balloon discovered over US territory earlier this year. Beijing said at the time that it was merely a balloon that had drifted away for scientific purposes. A US fighter jet shot down the balloon after a day-long flight over the US east coast. After an investigation, the US Department of Defense announced in June that the balloon had not collected any intelligence information.

Almost daily military exercises

Taiwan reports daily on Chinese military activities off its coast. However, balloon discoveries are rarely in the news. China’s military exercises almost daily off the coast of Taiwan with fighter planes and warships. The Taiwanese Ministry of Defense reported 15 jets that entered the island republic’s air defense zone within 24 hours. A total of 26 military aircraft and 10 Chinese navy ships were discovered around Taiwan. Taiwan’s armed forces were monitoring the situation, it said.

For Beijing, Taiwan is a breakaway province, which dates back to the Chinese civil war between 1927 and 1949. The People’s Republic, ruled by the Communist Party, therefore counts the island as part of China’s territory, even though there is an independent government in Taipei. According to experts, China is likely to use the daily exercises to test Taiwan’s military capabilities and tire out the armed forces.

Internationally there is concern about war. China has already threatened to invade if “reunification” is not possible. A conflict in the region, through which important trade routes run, would have a serious impact on the global economy.

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