Social media was abuzz on Friday with reports that a Chinese Air Force SU-35 jet was shot down by Taiwan for violating its airspace. Numerous respected media outlets also published and shared the report, showing a video of a Chinese Air Force SU-35 jet engulfed in smoke. Many social media users were quick to flag the report as fake. Some said the jet crashed due to a technical issue.
Taiwan didn’t shoot down the Chinese Air Force SU-35 jet
Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense has clarified that such social media reports are fake. The reports claimed that the Taiwan Patriot PAC-3 SAM shot down a PLAAF Su-35S. The Taiwanese forces had captured the injured Chinese pilot, they added. The Ministry of National Defense called the social media reports as “malicious act.”
The Ministry said in a statement that the Air Force Command has refuted the reports of shooting down a Chinese plane. The reports are “false information, and completely untrue.” The Taiwanese Air Force Command “strongly condemns such malicious acts.”
However, Taiwan emphasized that it would continue to monitor the situation closely to maintain airspace security around the Taiwan Strait. The Air Force Command will continue to share accurate information to prevent the spread of fake news on the Internet.
China attempting to annex Taiwan
According to a report from the Taipei Times, China doesn’t have the military capability to start an all-out war against Taiwan. The People’s Liberation Army is the second most powerful military, but the geological environment of the Taiwan Strait makes it incredibly challenging for them to wage a full-blown war. In the worst case, Beijing could engage in firepower strikes, landing operations, military intimidation, and blockades.
The Chinese military could step up exercises or sail warships close to Taiwanese waters to bully Taipei. It could also block Taiwan’s ports and maritime transportation. Its other options include launching missiles at specific Taiwanese military targets. But China’s options don’t include an all-out invasion of Taiwan.
Taiwan is an independent country. And China has no control over it. But Beijing claims the island nation is part of its territory under the “One China Principle.” Over the last few months, China has significantly increased military activities around Taiwan. Taiwanese Premier Su Tseng-chang recently said that China was “disturbing” the peace.