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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Suspected Chinese weather balloons trigger alarm bells in Taiwan

According to Taiwan's defense ministry, the two balloons were detected at 9:03 a.m. and 2:43 p.m., respectively, after crossing the strait's median approximately 110 nautical miles (204 km) northwest of the northern Taiwanese port city of Keelung.

Suspected Chinese weather balloons trigger alarm bells in Taiwan

On Monday, Taiwan’s defense ministry reported the presence of two suspected Chinese weather balloons flying across the sensitive Taiwan Strait. This marks the second occurrence this month, with the balloons maintaining a distance north of Taiwan. The heightened vigilance stems from concerns about China potentially employing balloons for espionage, a global concern highlighted when the United States claimed to have shot down a Chinese surveillance balloon in February, though China contended it was a civilian craft that had drifted off course inadvertently.

With the upcoming Jan. 13 presidential and parliamentary election, Taiwan remains on high alert for Chinese activities, both military and political. Taipei has issued warnings about Beijing’s attempts to interfere in the election, influencing voters to choose candidates favored by China.

Multiple situations emerging out 

According to Taiwan’s defense ministry, the two balloons were detected at 9:03 a.m. and 2:43 p.m., respectively, after crossing the strait’s median approximately 110 nautical miles (204 km) northwest of the northern Taiwanese port city of Keelung. The balloons, flying at an altitude of around 27,000 feet (3,230 meters), headed east and disappeared at 9:36 a.m. and 4:35 p.m. The ministry’s initial assessment is that these were weather balloons, as stated by spokesperson Sun Li-fang. China’s defense ministry has not yet responded to requests for comment.

In a previous incident on Dec. 7, Taiwan reported a similar balloon crossing the Taiwan Strait, which the defense ministry identified as likely being a weather platform. The transparency motive led officials to announce its detection at that time.

More to read: Taiwan independence means war – Beijing

on the other side, the Philippines  are actively engaging in confrontations with Chinese navy. The Region of South China Sea, which China claims that  more than 90% of which belongs to China. Many regional and especially the US rejects these claims. In the recent period, the tensions in South China Sea and the Taiwan issue causing serious threats of US-China face to face conflagration.