Thursday, December 9, 2021

Taiwan reports ‘record number’ of Chinese jets in its air defence zone

Chinese military air incursions over Taiwan are becoming more frequent and open.

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Some 28 Chinese military aircraft flew into Taiwan’s air defence zone on Tuesday, its defence ministry said, the largest reported incursion so far.

20 fighters and four nuclear-capable bombers were among those flying through the Taiwan air defence identification zone.

According to Taipei, the Chinese swarm also included anti-submarine, electronic warfare, and early warning aircraft.

The Chinese aircraft flew close to the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands, as well as around the southern part of Taiwan itself.

Chinese military air incursions over Taiwan are becoming more frequent and open.

While democratic Taiwan sees itself as a sovereign state, Beijing views the island as a breakaway province and makes no attempt to disguise its ambition to one day reunite Taiwan with the mainland, by force if necessary.

An air defence identification zone is an area outside a country’s territory and national air space but where foreign aircraft are still identified, monitored, and controlled in the interest of national security. It is self-declared and technically remains international airspace.

China has over recent months regularly carried out flights over the waters between the southern part of Taiwan and the Pratas Islands.

On January 24, a similar mission saw 15 aircraft entering Taiwan’s air defence zone while on April 12, Taiwan reported 25 hostile jets.

Tuesday’s operation came just one day after Nato leaders at a summit in Brussels warned of the military threat posed by China, calling its behaviour a “systemic challenge”.

China, they said, was rapidly expanding its nuclear arsenal, was “opaque” about its military modernisation and was co-operating militarily with Russia.

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