Taipei (Reuters) – Taiwan accused China of exaggeration and “tricks” on Tuesday after the Chinese military published footage of the strategically located Penghu islands where there is a major Taiwanese air base.
China, which claims Taiwan as its territory, has carried out military exercises around the island this month after a visit by U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was followed by five U.S. lawmakers on Sunday and Monday.
The Chinese military unit responsible for the area adjacent to Taiwan, the People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theatre Command, released on Monday video of the Penghu islands, apparently taken by a Chinese air force aircraft close by.
Taiwan Air Force Vice Chief of Staff for Operations Tung Pei-lun told reporters in Taipei that this was Chinese information warfare, though he said he had no comment on who had taken the video.
“China used the exaggerated tricks of cognitive warfare to show how close it was to Penghu – which is not true,” Tung said.
Taiwan’s Defence Ministry on Monday, in an update of Chinese air force activity near Taiwan, showed on a map that the closest Chinese aircraft to Penghu that day were four J-16 fighters.
The fighters crossed the Taiwan Strait median line – normally an unofficial barrier between the two sides – but stayed closer to the Chinese coast than Penghu, the map showed.
Tung said Taiwan had a real-time “grasp” of what was going on in the skies, and that Chinese aircraft have been operating to the north and southwest of Taiwan and across the median line.
“Both the air force and ground air defence forces respond.”
Penghu is close to Taiwan’s southwestern coast, unlike the Taiwan-controlled Kinmen and Matsu islands which are right next to the Chinese coast.
Penghu is a popular summer tourist destination for its beaches, reefs and seafood.