Taiwan Alerted Chinese Authorities to Warning of Beijing Attack

Taiwan told Chinese authorities last week about a warning of a planned attack on Beijing’s main airport, the island’s Aviation Police Bureau said.

Taiwan’s China Airlines Ltd. received a phone call March 4 warning that an attack was planned on Beijing Capital International Airport, Ko Chang-liang, the Aviation Police Bureau’s deputy chief, said by phone yesterday. The bureau alerted China’s aviation regulator and Beijing airport authorities the next day, Ko said.

The Taiwan government said yesterday it asked its military to help in the search for the missing Malaysian Airline System Bhd. aircraft that disappeared en route to Beijing on March 8. Investigators from nine countries are struggling to solve the mystery of the Boeing Co. 777-200, as Vietnamese forces yesterday failed to find the airplane debris they had spotted on March 9 off the country’s southern coast.

“We cannot say the attack warning is related to the missing Malaysian jet at this moment,” Ko said. Taiwan’s aviation police are investigating credibility of the warning and have increased security at the island’s airports after the call, he said.

The caller identified himself as belonging to a French anti-terrorism organization and said he called the airline after failing to reach Beijing airport authorities, China Airlines spokesman Jeffrey Kuo said by phone yesterday. China Airlines operates daily flights between Taipei and Beijing.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at a briefing yesterday he wasn’t aware of the specifics of any warning from Taiwan and referred reporters to other government authorities. China “attaches great importance to the safety of airlines,” Qin said.

A man who answered the phone at Beijing Capital International Airport’s press center, who declined to give his name, said yesterday that he wasn’t aware of the matter.

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