Photo offers glimpse of cold war face-off

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 August, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 03 August, 2007, 12:00am

The mainland has offered a glimpse of a secretive chapter in the cold war, displaying a photo at an exhibition in Shanghai that it says shows four US-made U2 spy planes shot down by its military.

Taiwanese media said last month that at least seven Taiwanese pilots died flying U2 planes on US-sponsored missions to the mainland.

Other accounts say the mainland shot down five of the high-altitude surveillance planes flown by Taiwanese pilots in the 1960s.

The black-and-white photo, displayed this week at an exhibition to mark the 80th anniversary of the People's Liberation Army, shows four of the Lockheed-built planes on the ground. The caption described them as wreckage but gave no details of when or where they were shot down.

Another display that said the PLA shot down 48 US planes and damaged 75 from 1950 to 1970 was accompanied by a photo of an F-104 interceptor aircraft exploding in mid-air.

The exhibit cited two incidents in which the mainland shot down Taiwanese planes, once in 1958 and once in 1959, but referred to the aircraft as 'Kuomintang', Taiwan's former ruling party.

In July 1958, mainland planes shot down two F-84G fighter-bomber aircraft and damaged one in a dogfight commemorated as the '3-0 victory'.

In October the following year, a Reconnaissance B-57 (RB-57) was shot down in what the exhibit claimed was the first successful engagement by a surface-to-air missile anywhere in the world.