Reports were circulating on social media platforms Friday afternoon that Taiwan had shot down a Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jet belonging to China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF). Hours later, Taiwan’s Ministry of Defence issued a statement in Chinese categorically denying that such an incident had occurred, adding they “strongly condemn” the spread of false information, The Telegraph reported.
In a press release later released in English, Taiwan’s Air Force Command said it “solemnly refuted” this “false information”, saying it was “completely untrue” that it had shot down a fighter jet belonging to China. This comes a day after the president of the Czech Senate, Milos Vystrcil, led a diplomatic delegation to Taiwan and met with President Tsai Ing-wen and other Taiwanese political leaders.
Following the visit, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi and state media outlets had issued strong objections and said that the Czech Republic would be “paying a heavy price” for fostering relations with Taiwan.
Two days ago, Taiwan had announced that it would redesign its passport to highlight its own name and remove the term ‘Republic of China’ in English from its cover, in a move that was seen as Taiwan emphasising its independence. Observers say the dissemination of false information, particularly of this nature implying military aggression, could potentially lead to conflict during what has been a tense few days between Taipei and Beijing.
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