The Taiwanese Ministry of Defense has denied shooting down a Chinese Su-35 jet today, after social media was abuzz with reports that suggested the same.
“The Air Force Command has refuted reports of shooting down Su-35. The information is false and completely untrue. The service strongly condemns this malicious act by deliberately creating and disseminating false information on the Internet in an attempt to confuse the audience,” the MoD said in a statement.
Earlier, multiple videos on twitter showed an aircraft engulfed in thick smoke in an unknown location. It was alleged that the warplane, operated by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), had transgressed into Taiwan's Strait.
The Taiwanese defense ministry added: "The Air Force Command emphasized that in order to maintain airspace security, it will continue to closely monitor the conditions of the sea and airspace around the Taiwan Strait; and provide correct information in a timely manner to prevent the spread of fake and false news, and to avoid social unrest, and appeals to people to rest assured."
(The statement from the Taiwanese National Ministry of Defense has been translated from Chinese using Google)
In April 2020, Taiwan’s missile systems tracked down PLA J-10 and J-11 fighter jets that crossed the “median line” of the Taiwan Strait, and expelled them. As recently as on August 10, China sent the same warplanes into Taiwan’s airspace when US Health Secretary Alez Azar went to meet Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. The jets retreated after Taiwanese patrol planes issued radio warnings and activated air defense missiles on the ground.
Taiwan currently has HAWK (I-HAWK), and indigenously-produced Tien Kung (Sky Bow) and ANTELOPE air defense systems. It has purchased the Modified Air Defense System (MADS), an improved variant of the PATRIOT surface-to-air missile (SAM) system.
Chinese military experts have recently talked about crushing Taiwan. “A pair of (combat-capable) aircraft carriers can squeeze the island of Taiwan from different angles. Together with the DF-21D and DF-26 anti-ship ballistic missiles of the PLA Rocket Force, they can lock down the island and deny possible U.S. intervention,” Beijing-based naval expert Li Jie told Global Times on Tuesday, when China's new Shandong carrier was departing for its first combat drills.
Citing China Military Power Report 2020, Taipei Times reported on September 1 that Chinese PLA could successfully blockade the island nation but will not be able to wage an all-out war.