Tsai pays condolences on death of F-16 pilot

2018/06/07 14:08:25 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文, second right) and King Mswati III from eSwatini (left)/photo courtesy of Military News Agency

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文, second right) and King Mswati III from eSwatini (left)/photo courtesy of Military News Agency

Taipei, June 7 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) expressed condolences Thursday for the death of F-16 pilot Major Wu Yen-ting (吳彥霆), who was killed Monday when his jet crashed in mountains in New Taipei while taking part in the annual Han Kuang military drill.

"We are saddened by the loss of a young and prominent pilot. His death is also a loss to the country," Tsai said after inspecting a joint anti-airborne drill at the Ching Chuan Kang air base in Taichung, central Taiwan. Visiting King Mswati III from eSwatini was also present.

The joint anti-airborne drill was part of the annual Han Kuang live-fire military exercises being held from Monday through Friday.

"On behalf of Taiwan's people, we hereby pay our greatest respects to the military for the sacrifices they have made for the country," the president said.

"After viewing the performance of the military, I'm strongly confident that the military is capable of defending this country, keeping invaders at bay," she said, while urging the armed forces to stringently conduct drills to strengthen their combat readiness and boost national safety.

"Through vigorous military drills, we want to build a capable military and boost the awareness of national defense among the public," Tsai said.

During Thursday's joint anti-airborne drill -- the main part of the five-day live-fire exercises, the military scrambled IDF fighters, in conjunction with tanks and CM11 armored vehicles, in a simulated bombing and annihilation of a Chinese air force attempt to land at the airport.

For the first time, repair units, logistics and supply personnel, such as Chunghwa Telecom, as well as drones operated by civilians, were deployed in the joint anti-airborne operations in the asymmetric war game against China that lasted for nearly an hour.

According to the Ministry of National Defense, 4,100 troops and 1,500 weapons and pieces of equipment were deployed during the drill.

(By You Kai-hsiang and Flor Wang)
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