Taiwan scrambles fighters as Chinese jets again menace island

Above, one of the domestically built Indigenous Defense Fighters takes part in the live-fire, anti-landing Han Kuang military exercise in Taichung, Taiwan on July 16, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 19 September 2020

Taiwan scrambles fighters as Chinese jets again menace island

  • China had on Friday announced combat drills near the Taiwan Strait
  • Beijing also denounced what it called collusion between Taiwan and the US

TAIPEI: Taiwan’s air force scrambled jets for a second consecutive day on Saturday as multiple Chinese aircraft approached the island and crossed the sensitive midline of the Taiwan Strait, with the island’s government urging Beijing to “pull back from the edge.”
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said 19 Chinese aircraft were involved, one more than in the previous day, with some crossing the Taiwan Strait midline and others flying into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone off its southwest coast.
It said China, which claims democratic Taiwan as its own territory, sent 12 J-16 fighters, two J-10 fighters, two J-11 fighters, two H-6 bombers and one Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft. According to a map the ministry provided, none got close to mainland Taiwan itself or flew over it.
“ROCAF scrambled fighters, and deployed air defense missile system to monitor the activities,” the ministry said in a tweet, referring to the Republic of China Air Force, the formal name of Taiwan’s air force.
China had on Friday announced combat drills near the Taiwan Strait and denounced what it called collusion between the island and the United States.
US Undersecretary for Economic Affairs Keith Krach arrived in Taipei on Thursday for a three-day visit, the most senior State Department official to come to Taiwan in four decades, angering China.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry, in a separate statement, said China was carrying out provocative activities, seriously damaging peace and stability.
“The Defense Ministry sternly condemns this, and calls on the mainland authorities to control themselves and pull back from the edge.”
The latest Chinese flights came the same day Taiwan held a memorial service for former president Lee Teng-hui, dubbed “Mr. Democracy” for ending autocratic rule in favor of free elections and championing Taiwan’s separate identity from China.
Lee, who died in July, became Taiwan’s first democratically elected president in March 1996 after eight months of intimidating war games and missile tests by China in waters around the island.
Those events brought China and Taiwan to the verge of conflict, prompting the United States to send an aircraft carrier task force to the area in a warning to Beijing’s government.


Danish PM in tears after visiting mink farmer whose animals were culled

Updated 26 November 2020

Danish PM in tears after visiting mink farmer whose animals were culled

COPENHAGEN: Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen broke down on Thursday when visiting a mink farmer who lost his herd following the government’s order this month to cull all 17 million mink in the country to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Frederiksen has faced opposition calls to resign and a vote of no confidence in parliament after an order by the government in early November, which it later admitted was illegal, to cull the country’s entire mink population.
The order was given after authorities found COVID-19 outbreaks at hundreds of mink farms, including a new strain of the virus, suspected of being able to compromise the efficacy of vaccines.
“We have two generations of really skilled mink farmers, father and son, who in a very, very short time have had their life’s work shattered,” Frederiksen told reporters after a meeting with a mink farmer and his son at their farm near Kolding in Western Denmark.
“It has been emotional for them, and... Sorry. It has for me too,” Frederiksen said with a wavering voice, pausing for breath in between words.
The move to cull Denmark’s entire mink population, one of the world’s biggest and highly valued for the quality of its fur, has left the government reeling after it admitted it did not have the legal basis to order the culling of healthy mink.
After a tumultuous couple of weeks since the order was given on Nov. 4, the Minister of Agriculture, Mogens Jensen, stepped down last week after an internal investigation revealed a flawed political process.
Denmark has proposed a ban on all mink breeding in the country until 2022. Tage Pedersen, head of the Danish mink breeders’ association, said this month the industry, which employs around 6,000 people and exports fur pelts worth $800 million annually, is finished.
Denmark’s opposition says the cull of healthy mink should not have been initiated before compensation plans were in place for the owners and workers at some 1,100 mink farms.