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Monday, December 5, 2016

China flew nuke capable jets around Taiwan before Trump's call

On Nov. 26th, just a few days before President-elect Trump spoke with Taiwan president on the phone, China flew two Xian H-6 long-range nuclear-capable bombers, along with two escort planes, a Tupoleve Tu-154 and Shaanxi Y-8, around Taiwan for the first time.

The purpose of these escort jets is to collect radar and surveillance information.

The bombers did not fly directly over Taiwan, but stayed in international airspace, according to officials.

Other Chinese fighter jets, a J-10 and Su-30, escorted the bombers at different stages of the flight as Japan scrambled eight F-15 fighter jets to intercept at one point in the northeast skies of Taiwan.

"This was the first time that Chinese aircraft circled around Taiwan," Deputy National Defense Minister Lee Hsi-ming said, explaining that China has threatened similar flights would occur in the future.

Anthony H. Cordesman, the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies said that "Taiwan faces a much more serious Chinese challenge than it has ever faced before." He explained that China has built up a massive military capability in the area around Taiwan and that the U.S. has no standing to object to China flying near, but not above the island.

The Trump-Tsai Ing-wen phone call may have been a brilliant move on the part of both parties, telling China that the US has Taiwan's proverbial back, and that nobody is going to dictate what a future American president is going to do.

There's no doubt that 2017 is going to be an incredibly interesting year.