The statement was in response to unverified videos circulating on social media of a Chinese Su-35 aircraft being shot down in Guanxi province in China.
After reports began circulating on social media platforms on Friday that Taiwan had downed a Chinese fighter jet, Taipei, amid escalating tensions with Beijing, issued a press release denying that such an incident had occurred and calling such speculation “completely untrue”.
Unverified videos, purportedly of a Chinese SU-35 aircraft being shot down in Guanxi, an autonomous coastal region in southern China and bordering Vietnam, were picked up and reported by various media outlets on Friday.
The press release, issued by the Taiwan’s Air Force Command, stated “The Air Force Command solemnly refuted this day that this is false information, and completely untrue. The Air Force Command pointed out that it strongly condemns such malicious acts by deliberately creating and disseminating false and false information on the Internet in an attempt to confuse the audience.”
In response to rumors online that claim a Chinese Su-35 fighter jet had been shot down by Taiwan air defense systems, #ROCAirForce would like to categorically state this is fake news. We urge netizens to not spread it and strongly condemn this malicious act.
— 國防部 Ministry of National Defense, R.O.C. (@MoNDefense) September 4, 2020
The press release was circulated by Niocola Smith, the Taiwan correspondent of the UK’s Daily Telegraph newspaper. She attributed it to Air Force Spokesperson Lieutenant General Chen Guohua.
Below is the original press statement from Taiwan’s ministry of defence. Only in Chinese for now, but says it “solemnly refutes” the internet reports that Taiwan shot down a PLAAF SU-35 and “strongly condemns” the dissemination of fake information 1/
— Nicola Smith (@niccijsmith) September 4, 2020
The Su-35 is the most advanced export fighter in China’s air force. It is the newest derivative of the Su-27 fighter and is more agile than the Su-30 fighter, reported The Week.
China had purchased 24 Su-35 fighters from Russia.
The rumours and speculation come amid growing tension between China and Taiwan, the self-governing island which Beijing claims as its own territory. On Thursday, China described a meeting between Czech Senate president and Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen as an “open provocation”.
Beijing, furious about the Czech delegation’s visit, summoned the Czech Republic’s ambassador to lodge stern representations and saying the trip amounted to “flagrant support of Taiwan independence.”
On Wednesday, Taiwan announced plans to issue new passports emphasising its independent identity and downgrading connections with China.
The foreign ministry on Wednesday released images of the new document that features “Taiwan” in large capital letters on its cover and minimises the English wording “Republic of China”, the island’s official name according to its Constitution.
There was no immediate reaction from Beijing on the new passport design.
Beijing responded angrily when Taiwan was added to the cover of the Taiwanese passport more than a decade ago and has increasingly lashed out at assertions of the island”s political independence.
China does not recognise Taiwanese passports and requires citizens of the island travelling to the mainland to use a Chinese-issued document.
The change in passport design, to take effect in January, aims to prevent confusion between travellers from Taiwan and those from China, Taiwanese foreign minister Joseph Wu told reporters.
He said the ministry has informed the International Air Transport Association, foreign governments, airports, airlines and immigration authorities about the change and provided them with samples of the new design.
The passport redesign was mandated in a resolution passed by the legislature in July, which also called for a change in the logo of Taiwan’s government-owned China Airlines, sometimes confused with Chinese flag carrier Air China.
Taiwan was handed over from Japanese to Chinese rule in 1945. Four years later, Chiang Kai-shek relocated the Republic of China and its institutions to the island as Mao Zedong’s Communist Party swept to power in the Chinese Civil War.
Taiwan has since shrugged off political connections with China as part of its transition to full democracy. However, it has retained Republic of China as its official name, along with the constitution, flag and state institutions brought from China.
With inputs from PTI
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