Taipei has reported a major incursion of its airspace, which prompted a swift military response.
According to Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense, 29 Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) aircraft breached its southern air defence identification zone (ADIZ) on Tuesday, 21 June.
The Chinese contingent reportedly included:
- Eight Shenyang J-16 fighter jets;
- Four Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets;
- Five Shenyang J-11 fighter jets;
- Six Xian H-6 bombers;
- One Shaanxi Y-9 electronic warfare aircraft;
- One Shaanxi Y-8 transport aircraft;
- One Xian Y-20 aerial transport and refuelling aircraft;
- Two Shaanxi KJ-500 early warning and control aircraft; and
- One Shaanxi Y-8 ASW aircraft.
Tracking reports from Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense revealed some of the aircraft flew northeast of Pratas, while the bombers, EW, and patrol aircraft flew into the Bashi Channel before turning back to China.
In response to the incursion, Taiwan deployed combat air patrol aircraft, issued radio warnings, and deployed air defence missile systems to monitor the PLAAF fleet’s activities.
This was one of the largest reported breach this year, following continued incursions since January 2021.
Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said the incident demonstrates China’s military is “more serious than ever”.
“But there’s no way Taiwan will cave in & surrender its sovereignty & democracy to the big bully. Not a chance!” Wu said on Twitter.
Beijing has publicly expressed plans to absorb Taiwan into its mainland and has warned the West not to intervene.
The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) media mouthpiece, the Global Times, recently published a stern warning against any US military intervention in the Taiwan Strait.
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“I would like to remind all parties that the Taiwan Straits are on the doorstep of the Chinese mainland,” the piece read.
“The US cannot match China’s ability to mobilise military forces in this region, as well as China’s will to fight.
“It would be a wise choice for the US military not to clash with the PLA here.”
The piece concluded by claiming “the two sides of the Taiwan Straits will eventually be unified”.
Taiwan has been bolstering its defence capability in preparation for a potential invasion.
In April, the US State Department approved a US$95 million (AU$126.5 million) proposal from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office for contractor technical assistance relating to the training, planning, fielding, deployment, operation, maintenance and sustainment of the Patriot Air Defense System.
This followed Taiwan’s request for equipment and services to support participation in the Patriot International Engineering Services Program (IESP) and Field Surveillance Program (FSP) over the next five years.
News Editor – Defence and Security, Momentum Media
Prior to joining the defence and aerospace team in 2020, Charbel was news editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business, where he covered developments in the banking and financial services sector for three years. Charbel has a keen interest in geopolitics and international relations, graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a double major in politics and journalism. Charbel has also completed internships with The Australian Department of Communications and the Arts and public relations agency Fifty Acres.