Photo courtesy of ISI
On March 4, Israel’s geospatial and geo-intelligence solutions provider ImageSat International (ISI) uploaded several satellite images taken on March 1 via a social media platform, declaring that for the first time in few years, four Chinese H-6 strategic bombers were detected in Xinning airbase in east China's Guangdong Province. ISI also revealed that the airbase is about 450 kilometers from Taiwan.
Unsurprisingly, several Taiwanese media outlets including United Daily News published articles on March 5 to make a fuss on the news, and tried to make conjectures and interpretations.
Taiwan’s pro-green Liberty Times published an article with the headline “Mainland’s four bombers deployed in Xinning, Guangdong for the first time,” which conveyed a connotation different from the statement of ISI's “four H-6 strategic bombers were detected in Xinning Airbase, for the first time in few years.”
United Daily News analyzed that when performing offshore training of its H-6 bombers, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) usually transfers such bombers from an inland airbase to a coastal one, where they are reorganized and resupplied before conducting long-distance missions. Recently, several H-6 bombers' flight missions to the ocean to the east of the Philippines via the Bashi Channel were likely to set out from Xingning Airbase.
The Taiwanese media conjectured that H-6 bombers would not be deployed permanently at Xingning airbase given that the airbase is stationed by other PLA Air Force units.
The newspaper also revealed that Taiwan's "defense authorities" published news about PLA’s H-6 bombers on February 27, saying that "a fleet of H-6 bombers conducted regular long-distance flight training on the afternoon of that day, setting out from a coastal airbase in Guangdong Province of the Chinese mainland and patrolling the South China Sea before returning to the airbase." It conjectured that the Guangdong coastal airbase is probably the Xingning airbase.
Taiwan's "defense authorities" has yet to make an official commentary on the news released by ISI. Several Taiwanese media outlets stressed that the airbase is "only 450 kilometers from Taiwan" in their reports, with some even using the word "Shocked" in their headlines.
Although the news aroused a wide sensation among the Taiwanese media, the deployment of the H-6 bomber, whose range reaches as many as 9,000 kilometers, in the coastal airbase just implies that it doesn’t target at Taiwan, but aims at long-distance patrol on the South China Sea. Otherwise, the bombers would be deployed in an inland airbase. This only indicates that some Taiwanese media outlets have persecutory delusion, so they misdeem any PLA deployment might target at Taiwan.
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