Dozens of Chinese aircraft enter Taiwan air defense zone

Taiwan scrambled fighter jets in response to an incursion by 37 Chinese aircraft into its air defense identification zone Thursday, the Taiwanese Ministry of Defense said. (Photo: Taiwan Ministry of Defense/UPI)

Thursday, Taiwan's Defense Ministry detected 37 incursions by Chinese military aircraft into Taiwan's air defense identification zone.

Beginning at 5:00 a.m., the ministry detected Chinese J-11 and J-16 fighters, H-6 bombers, and transport and early warning aircraft flying into the southwestern portion of Taiwan's ADIZ.

The ministry said some aircraft "conducted aerial surveillance and long-distance navigation training" in the western Pacific.

Taiwan dispatched aircraft and ships and activated shore-mounted missile systems to monitor the large-scale incursion, Beijing's latest in a string of provocations that Taipei calls "gray zone" warfare intended to strain the island's defense capabilities and sap its morale.

China views the 23-million-person democratic island as a rebellious province and has pledged to seize control of it by force if necessary. Taiwan has never been a member of the mainland People's Republic of China, established in 1949, and it rejects Beijing's claims to sovereignty.

In response, Taiwan has increased its defense expenditures and cooperation with the United States, which does not recognize Taiwan diplomatically but sells island weapons.

The island has become a growing tension in China-U.S. relations, with Beijing launching large-scale military exercises around Taiwan in response to Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taipei last year. A visit by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen to the United States in April prompted China to conduct another series of military exercises.

A Chinese warship nearly collided with an American destroyer conducting freedom of navigation operations in the Taiwan Strait over the weekend in a maneuver the U.S. military deemed "unsafe."

This incident occurred just days after the Pentagon reported that a Chinese J-16 fighter jet engaged in an "unnecessarily aggressive maneuver" against a U.S. aircraft in the South China Sea.

The assertiveness of China in the region has also alarmed other U.S. allies. China and Russia conducted joint air patrols over the East China Sea and the Sea of Japan on Tuesday, prompting Tokyo and Seoul to scramble fighter aircraft in response.

Wednesday, the Defense Ministry of South Korea lodged a "stern" grievance with China and Russia, claiming that their warplanes entered its air defense identification zone without permission.

Publish : 2023-06-08 15:41:00

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