Taiwan reports second day of large Chinese incursion into its air defense zone
TAIPEI — Taiwan reported on Thursday a second day of a large scale Chinese air force incursion into its air defense zone, with its defense ministry saying that in the past 24 hours it had spotted 21 aircraft, as part of Beijing’s ongoing military pressure campaign.
Taiwan, which China views as its own territory, has complained for the past three years or so of stepped up Chinese military activities near the island as Beijing seeks to assert its sovereignty claims.
China has said its activities in the area are justified as it seeks to defend its territorial integrity and to warn the United States against “colluding” with Taiwan, despite the anger this causes in Taipei.
Taiwan’s defense ministry said the aircraft, 17 J-10 fighters and four J-16 fighters, had flown into the southwestern corner of Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, according to a map the ministry released.
The J-10s, an older fighter model that first entered service two decades ago, flew closer to the Chinese coast than Taiwan’s, while the J-16s, a much newer and more advanced fighter, flew in an area to the northeast of the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands, the map showed.
The lightly-defended Pratas are strategically located at the top of the South China Sea and many of China’s fly-bys happen nearby.
Taiwan’s forces monitored the situation, including sending up its own air force planes, the ministry added, using the normal phrasing for its response to such Chinese incursions.
The ministry on Wednesday reported 19 Chinese aircraft flying in Taiwan’s air defense zone.