Dr Wee: US aircraft that spied on Chinese bases did not use transponder code registered to M'sia

Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong. -filepic

PETALING JAYA: The transponder code used by a US aircraft that allegedly impersonated a Malaysian plane when spying on China's military bases last September was not registered to Malaysia, says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.

The Transport Minister said that the probe carried out by the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) found that the transponder code said to have been used by the US aircraft was in fact not registered with a Malaysian plane.

“This is because the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) had designated the Mode-S code to Malaysia, ” he said in a Parliamentary written reply.

Dr Wee added that the CAAM had sent a letter to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) that was dated Sept 14,2020 to request for confirmation of the transponder code that was used.

“This is because the CAAC is the responsible party for the surveillance of airspace in the area in question. However, until now, the matter is still under the consideration of the CAAC, ” he said.

Last year, the US-based Popular Mechanics quoted a Chinese government think tank that said that the aircraft flew off China’s Hainan island on Sept 8, coming within 90km of the Chinese mainland.

The South China Sea Probing Initiative shared a pair of screenshots that showed a RC-135W Rivet Joint reconnaissance aircraft take off from Kadena Air Base, a US Air Force base on the island of Okinawa.

Popular Mechanics said the plane flew southwest following the Ryukyu islands chain before passing Taiwan to loiter off the coast of Hainan Island, adding that enough details were provided on Twitter for independent verification.

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