Marine Corps jets forced to land on Taiwan
WASHINGTON — Two Marine Corps jets were forced to land on Taiwan on Tuesday after one of the aircraft experienced a mechanical issue, according to the Marine Corps.
Two F/A-18C aircraft were flying from Japan to Singapore to participate in Commando Sling, a bilateral air exercise, when one of the planes ran into trouble, forcing it to land at Tainan Airport, Taiwan.
“A persistent engine oil pressure warning light precipitated the precautionary emergency landing,” said Maj. Paul Greenberg, a Marine Corps spokesman.
A second aircraft that paired with it on the mission also landed “to maintain section integrity,” Greenberg said.
The landing could antagonize China, which has been aggressive in asserting its territorial claims recently. Beijing and Washington both recognize Taiwan as part of China, but the island maintains de facto independence. The U.S. has a long-standing bilateral relationship with Taiwan and is a major arms supplier for the territory. Any perceived cooperation between the two militaries riles Chinese leaders.
Greenberg said there was no intent for the planes to land in Taiwan en route to Singapore.
“The reason they stopped in Taiwan was based on the proximity to where they experienced the issue and the weather being conducive to landing,” he said. “They have departed Taiwan and continued on with their mission.”
The aircraft were from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 323. The squadron is based out of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., but is currently flying out of Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, as part of the Unit Deployment Program.