More control: Chinese official backs Hong Kong judicial 'reform' calls

Taiwan grounds entire fleet of US-made F-16 fighter jets after crash

Taiwan had to ground all its F16 fighter jets for safety checks. Since 1997 when the delivery of Taiwan's current fleet of F-16 jets began, there have been seven major accidents involving the planes, according to the Taipei-based Central News Agency.

This decision, which was announced by the local authorities on Wednesday, has now put more pressure on the limited fleet of the country to warn off the Chinese jets which have increased their activity in the recent few months.

Hualien on November 17 (CNA) An F-16 fighter jet disappeared over waters off eastern Taiwan Tuesday night from radar screens at an altitude of more than 6,000 feet, a Taiwanese air force official said during a press conference. The jet went missing during a nighttime training mission. Two pilots died in the accidents and one was injured. This was when the pilot's F-5E fighter jet crashed into the sea during training. The air force has grounded all F16s for checks and she has instructed an investigation into the cause of the incident.

A search for the jet's pilot, Col. Chiang Cheng-chih, is continuing, according to a statement from the office of Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen.

"The rescue mission is our top priority now".

Taiwan lives under the constant threat of invasion by China, which views the island as its own territory and has vowed to seize it one day, by force if necessary.

Hsieh Jih-Sheng, commander of the 5th Tactical Fighter Wing of Taiwan's Air Force, said on Tuesday that when the incident occurred, cloud cover was thin at 2,000 feet but thicker from 4,000-7,000 feet. As recently as on Friday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Taiwan was an inalienable part of China, following U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's comment that "Taiwan has not been a part of China".

Taiwan has scrambled its planes at double the speed of final 12 months to guard in opposition to China's elevated invasions into its defensive zone.

Taiwan's military is in a bad shape by a string of air crashes this year.



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