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Taiwan’s military chief missing after helicopter crash landing

Air force general Shen Yi-ming, the island’s chief of general staff, was on board the aircraft that went down near Taipei

A Black Hawk helicopter of the type that crashed in Taiwan with 13 people on board, including senior military officials.

Taiwan’s most senior military official has been reported missing after a helicopter made an emergency landing, the island’s defence ministry said on Thursday

Thirteen people were on board the military Black Hawk helicopter, the ministry said, when it was forced to land in mountains near the capital Taipei for unknown reasons

But while a rescue mission had found survivors, three people were still missing including the air force general Shen Yi-ming, the island’s chief of the general staff. Also on board were the deputy director of the political and war bureau, Yu Qinwen, and the deputy minister of finance, Jiang Youmin

The UH-60M helicopter had been taking off for a routine mission to visit soldiers in the north-east Yilan county ahead of the lunar new year, the ministry said in a statement

The incident comes ahead of Taiwan’s general election on 11 January which is seen as a referendum on relations with Beijing, where authorities sees the island as a breakaway province that must be brought back under its control

The incumbent president, Tsai Ing-Wen of the Democratic Progressive party (DPP), under whom ties with Beijing have become fraught, takes on Han Kuo-Yu of the Kuomintang party (KMT), which advocates closer engagement with China

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