TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan’s Defense Ministry reported on Monday a new incursion by China’s air force into the island’s air defense identification zone, consisting of eight fighter jets and two other jets, one of the which flew over the strategic Bashi Canal.
Taiwan, claimed by China, has complained in recent months of repeated missions by the Chinese air force near the island, concentrated in the southwestern part of its air defense zone near the Pratas islands controlled by Taiwan.
Late last month, Taiwan reported that 20 Chinese planes were involved in one such sortie.
In the latest incident, the Taiwanese Defense Ministry said four J-16 and four Chinese J-10 fighters were involved, as well as an early warning plane and an anti-submarine plane, the latter of which flew into southern Taiwan. through the Bashi Canal. connecting the Pacific with the South China Sea.
The Taiwanese air force sent a combat air patrol and warned Chinese planes to move away, the ministry added.
There was no immediate response from the Chinese Defense Ministry, but the flights coincided with other Chinese military activities to northern Taiwan.
Japan’s Defense Ministry said on Sunday that the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning, accompanied by five escort ships, had transited the Miyako Strait on its way to the Pacific.
Although China’s air force has not flown over Taiwan, the flights have increased the pressure, both financial and physical, on the island’s air force to ensure its planes are ready to depart at any time as security officials describe. as a “war of attrition.”
China views democratic Taiwan as its own territory and has never renounced the use of force to bring the island under its control.
While Taiwan’s air force is well trained, it is dwarfed by China’s.
Reporting by Ben Blanchard; edited by Barbara Lewis