Less than a week before President-elect Donald Trump spoke with Taiwan’s president over the phone, China flew a pair of long-range nuclear-capable bombers around Taiwan for the first time, two U.S. officials revealed to Fox News.
On Nov. 26, two Chinese Xian H-6 bombers, along with two escort planes, a Tupolev Tu-154 and Shaanxi Y-8, flew around the island of Taiwan from mainland China, taking off and landing from two separate Chinese military bases.
The escort jets were used to collect radar information and conduct other surveillance on American allies such as Japan, Fox News is told. The Chinese bombers stayed in international airspace, according to officials.
At different points of the flight, Chinese J-10 and Su-30 fighter jets performed escort duties for the Chinese strategic bombers.
Japan scrambled eight F-15 fighter jets to intercept the Chinese flight at one point in the skies somewhere northeast of Taiwan, according to the officials.
A high-ranking official from Taiwan’s defense ministry commented on the Chinese military flight Monday.
“This was the first time that Chinese aircraft circled around Taiwan,” Deputy National Defense Minister Lee Hsi-ming said, adding that China has said similar flights would occur in the future according to Focus Taiwan News Channel.