France air force deploys air assets to Asia-Pacific region: NATO
NATO says the French air force completed the first phase of a large-scale, long-range deployment of fighters, tankers, and transporters into the Asia-Pacific region.
NATO announced Tuesday that the French air force has successfully conducted the first phase of a large-scale, long-range deployment of air assets into the Asian-Pacific region.
In a statement, the alliance said that "the first phase of the deployment - dubbed Henri Brown - began in France on August 10 and ended in New Caledonia on August 12."
According to NATO, "An air task force consisting of three Rafale fighters, two A330 MRTT Phenix air-to-air refueling aircraft and two A400M transport aircraft conducted the force projection mission in less than 72 hours."
.@Armee_de_lair 🇫🇷 completes the first phase of a large-scale, long-range deployment of fighters, tankers & transporters into the Asia-Pacific region in less than 72 hours— NATO Air Command (@NATO_AIRCOM) August 16, 2022
Read more https://t.co/PTb6bwI1L8#StrongerTogether pic.twitter.com/sHWsO2ZtR9
The military alliance indicated that the second phase of the deployment will be hosted by Australia from August 19 to September 8 in the form of Pitch Black multinational air drills, boosting battle readiness and interoperability of NATO member-states.
The third phase would be conducted from September 11 to 18 and would include the return flights to France with stopovers in Indonesia and Singapore for "conducting operational cooperation with the local air forces," the NATO statement read.
Pitch Black is a biennial exercise designed to enhance flight operations and proficiency between participating nations. This year, the drills will be visited by participants from 17 countries including Japan, Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, and India.
China conducts fresh drills around Taiwan as US lawmakers visit
Similarly, in the Asia-Pacific region, China announced new military maneuvers surrounding Taiwan on Monday, as a team of US politicians met with the island's leader only weeks after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's provocative trip.
The two-day visit came as Beijing launched warships, missiles, and fighter jets into the waters and skies surrounding Taiwan.
Washington's de facto embassy revealed that a five-member congressional delegation led by Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey met with President Tsai Ing-wen on Monday.
"The delegation had an opportunity to exchange views with Taiwan counterparts on a wide range of issues of importance to both the United States and Taiwan," it said.
The bipartisan trip sparked a caustic response from Beijing, which said it had carried out "combat readiness patrol and combat drills in the sea and airspace around Taiwan island" on Monday.
"This is a solemn deterrent against the US and Taiwan for continuing to play political tricks and undermining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait," Shi Yi, spokesperson for the Chinese military's Eastern Theater Command, said in a statement, promising to "resolutely defend national sovereignty."
In response to the delegation's visit, Beijing called on Washington to "stop going further down the wrong path of hollowing out and distorting the one-China principle, so as not to cause further damage to China-US relations and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait."
"China will take firm and forceful measures to safeguard its national sovereignty and territorial integrity," Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin told a regular briefing.