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Flight recorder of crashed Taiwanese F-16 found

By
Elizabeth Shim
A handout photo made available by Taiwan Military News Agency shows a F-16 warplane at the Hualien Air Base in Hualien, Taiwan, Monday. Photo courtesy of Taiwan Military News Agency
A handout photo made available by Taiwan Military News Agency shows a F-16 warplane at the Hualien Air Base in Hualien, Taiwan, Monday. Photo courtesy of Taiwan Military News Agency

June 5 (UPI) -- A flight recorder belonging to a crashed Taiwanese F-16 fighter jet has been found following annual military drills that come at a time of heightened tensions between Beijing and Taipei.

The black box was found Tuesday afternoon about 120 meters below the site of the crash near Taiwan's capital, the country's Central News Agency reported.

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The aircraft was being deployed in Taiwan's annual Han Guang military exercise that included other F-16s and anti-aircraft missiles, according to CNA.

The crash occurred on the second day of training when Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen came to observe the test firing of missiles, including a self-developed Taiwanese missile and a U.S. Patriot advanced capability, or PAC-2 interceptor.

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During the training, China may have dispatched an electronic surveillance aircraft, or the Shaanxi Y-9.

The Y-9 passed through the Miyako Strait between Taiwan and Okinawa to reach the Western Pacific, before returning to the Chinese mainland.

During the flight, Japan's air self-defense force reportedly scrambled fighters to track the Chinese aircraft.

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It was when the Chinese reconnaissance aircraft was deployed near Taiwan the F-16 crashed on Taiwanese territory.

A Taiwanese air force official said the pilot, Air Force Cmdr. Gen. Liu Chen-wu, had "done everything" after Wu had survived another crash in 2013.

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China began to disclose surveillance operations in April.

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Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party has been vocal about China's military threats.

Weekly magazine Next reported the party's security advisory panel wants to open Taiping Island in the South China Sea for U.S. military use.

The United States may also change its arms sales policy to Taiwan to make it easier to procure arms, according to local press reports.

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