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Taiwan’s chief of general staff missing after helicopter makes emergency landing, rescue effort underway

Taiwan’s chief of general staff missing after helicopter makes emergency landing, rescue effort underway
Taiwanese Air Force General Shen Yi-ming, who is also the island’s incumbent chief of the general staff, was on board a helicopter that crash-landed in northern Taiwan. A massive rescue effort has been launched.

Some 13 people were on board a UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter when it attempted an emergency landing on Thursday morning, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said.

Rescuers were promptly sent to the area of the crash in the mountainous Wulai district in the northern part of the Chinese self-governing territory. So far, several people have been found alive, while three, including Shen, remain unaccounted for.

While it’s unclear what prompted the mishap, the ministry reported that the aircraft was on a mission to Yilan County in northeastern Taiwan when it went down.

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The incident comes as the island gears up for its presidential and vice-presidential elections, set for January 11.

Speaking ahead of the ballot, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who is seeking re-election in the upcoming vote, stoked tensions in what is already a very tense relationship between the island and mainland China, rejecting the “one country, two systems” principle as something “definitely not feasible” for Taiwan. It comes after the territory’s parliament passed a so-called “anti-infiltration bill” championed by anti-Beijing forces and aimed at curbing the Chinese government’s influence.

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