Taiwan Reports New Incursion by Chinese Jets Into Defense Zone

Taiwan Reports New Incursion by Chinese Jets Into Defense Zone
A Chinese J-16 fighter jet performs in the sky in Changchun, China, on Oct. 17, 2019. (AFP via Getty Images)

TAIPEI, Taiwan—Taiwan’s Defense Ministry on April 5 reported a new incursion by China’s air force into the island’s air defense identification zone, made up of eight fighter jets and two other aircraft, one of which flew through the strategic Bashi Channel.

Chinese-claimed Taiwan has complained over the past few months of repeated missions by China’s air force near the island, concentrated in the southwestern part of its air defense zone near the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands.

Late last month, Taiwan reported 20 Chinese aircraft were involved in one such incursion.

In the latest incident, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said four Chinese J-16 and four J-10 fighters were involved, as well as an early warning plane and anti-submarine aircraft, the latter of which flew to the south of Taiwan through the Bashi Channel that connects the Pacific to the South China Sea.

Taiwan’s air force sent up a combat air patrol to warn the Chinese aircraft away, the ministry added.

While there was no immediate response from China’s Defense Ministry, the flights coincided with other Chinese military activity to Taiwan’s north.

Japan’s Defense Ministry said on April 4 that the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning, accompanied by five escort ships, had transited the Miyako Strait on their way to the Pacific.

Although China’s air force hasn’t flown over Taiwan itself, the flights have ramped up pressure, both financial and physical, on the island’s air force to ensure its aircraft are ready to go at any moment in what security officials describe as a “war of attrition.”

The Chinese regime 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’s dwarfed by that of China’s.

By Ben Blanchard