Taiwan defence officials meet after crash kills top officer

TAIPEI, TAIWAN (AP) — Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen convened a meeting of top defence officials and urged them yesterday to be on a lookout for military developments concerning China following a helicopter crash that killed the island’s top military officer and other prominent personnel.

In a tweet, Tsai said the morning conference focussed on ensuring military morale, security in and around the Taiwan Strait and the importance of “complete equipment inspections”. The meeting followed the grounding for inspection of Taiwan’s 52 UH-60M Black Hawk choppers belonging to the air force, the army and the National Airborne Service Corps, the agency responsible for search and rescue operations.

Thursday morning’s crash in forested mountains outside Taipei killed eight people, including Chief of General Staff General Shen Yi-ming. A former pilot and air force chief, Shen, 62, had since July been largely responsible for overseeing the self-governing island’s defence.

“The best way for us to honour the memory of the fallen is to ensure Taiwan’s security and maintain military morale,” Tsai wrote.

In a video handout from the Presidential Office, Tsai is shown asking officials including the Defence Minister to “please be vigilant and pay close attention to military developments around the Taiwan Strait”.