China's Military Aircraft Crashes in South China Sea; Beijing Seals Off Area for Search Ops

A military aircraft of the People's Liberation Army crashed in the South China Sea and the area was sealed for the search of the aircraft, Taiwan has said.

Taipei's intelligence service has confirmed the crash, which was first reported on March 6 by Vietnamese journalist Duan Dang on Twitter, citing unnamed sources.

China Airshow 2016
Representative image Reuters

Y-8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft

The crash allegedly involved a Chinese Y-8 maritime patrol aircraft and occurred off the coast of Sanya, a city on China's Hainan Island that lies parallel to northern Vietnam, reported VOA.

According to Dang, China had used military drills to conceal search and rescue efforts between March 4 and 15 off the coast of Vietnam citing unnamed sources.

Taiwan Confirms Crash

Director of Taiwan's National Security Bureau, Chen Ming-tong, on Thursday confirmed the crash saying that the People's Liberation Army imposed navigation restrictions in an area corresponding to the crash site and carried out search and rescue drills.

Japan denies China's claim of 'dangerous and unprofessional conduct' by fighter jets
A Chinese military aircraft Reuters

Beijing is maintaining silence over the matter and has not responded to the reports of the crash.

Underlining that the crash was just one example of how China uses its coast guard and military to enforce its territorial claims to almost all of the South China Sea, Chen said that Beijing continues to exercise such practices despite knowing that Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, and Taiwan also have claims. The South China Sea is a globally important shipping route as one-third of global shipping passes through its waters.