A US military transport plane made a brief stopover yesterday morning in Taipei, drawing media attention and no comment from the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
A C-146A Wolfhound touched down at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) at 9:32am after flying from Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa, Japan, Television Broadcasts Satellite (TVBS) reported.
Apart from regular landing procedures handled by the airport, the air force said that it had no contact with the aircraft.
Photo: Screen grab from Twitter
It was reportedly carrying a package for newly installed AIT Director Sandra Oudkirk, who is undergoing a 14-day quarantine after arriving in Taiwan on Monday, TVBS said.
Originally scheduled to stay for one hour, the plane departed 24 minutes early at 10:06am after delivering the package, it reported.
The US Air Force says that the C-146A Wolfhound is a modified version of the Dornier 328 commuter airliner used mostly to transport small teams and cargo for the US Special Operations Command.
Chinese Ministry of National Defense spokesman Colonel Wu Qian (吳謙) expressed “grave concern” over the visit, saying that any foreign military aircraft landing on Chinese territory must be approved by the People’s Republic of China.
The US must cease playing with fire, as it would only draw Taiwan into a dangerous situation, Wu said in a statement on the ministry’s Web site.
“The Chinese People’s Liberation Army is on high alert and will take all necessary measures to resolutely crush any designs on ‘Taiwanese independence,’” he added.
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) spokeswoman Zhu Fenglian (朱鳳蓮) urged the US to abide by the Three Joint Communiques and stop further provocative action.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇), who serves on the legislature’s National Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee, confirmed the visit on Facebook, but declined to comment on its intent.
Regardless of what the aircraft came to do, its significance lies in the fact of its arrival, Wang said.
How the US interacts with Taiwan “is our business,” he said.
“No one else has the right to intervene,” Wang added.
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