Taiwan reports largest Chinese incursion into its air defence zone since January

A Taiwanese fighter jet flying next to a Chinese bomber (top) off the coast of Taiwan in February 2020. Image: Taiwan’s Defence Ministry/AFP/Getty Images. 

DHARAMSALA, 31: Taiwan has reported the biggest incursions by Chinese warplanes into Taiwan’s air defence zone since January on Monday.

Confirming the latest incursion by China, media reports quoted Taiwan’s defence ministry as stating late on Monday that it had to scramble its own aircraft and deploy air defence missile systems after 30 warplanes were sent by China into its air defence zone.

According to Taiwan’s defence ministry, China’s latest incursion saw 22 fighters, as well as electronic warfare, early warning and antisubmarine aircraft.

A flight map provided by the Taiwanese defence ministry showed the planes flew in an area to the northeast of the Pratas Islands that is part of Taiwan’s air defence identification zone.

Though incursions by Chinese warplanes into Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) are frequent, it coincided with US Senator Tammy Duckworth’s unannounced visit to the island to discuss matters of regional security and trade with Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen.

Additionally, it came on the hills of US president Joe Biden’s warning to China that the US will defend Taiwan if it is attacked by China.

According to media reports, Taiwan has reported 465 incursions in 2022, a near 50% increase from the same period last year. 

Last year, Taiwan recorded 969 incursions by Chinese warplanes, more than double the roughly 380 carried out in 2020.

Beijing claims self-ruled and democratic Taiwan as its own and views it as a wayward province to be reunified with China by force if necessary.

Taiwan has been self-governed since 1949 when Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang troops fled to the island after losing China’s civil war to Mao’s Communist Party.

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