Twenty Chinese military aircraft entered Taiwan’s air defence identification zone in the largest incursion yet reported by the island’s defence ministry and marking a dramatic escalation of tension across the Taiwan Strait.
Chinese aircraft flew in the airspace to the south of Taiwan and passed through the Bashi Channel which separates the island from the Philippines, Taiwan’s defence ministry said in a statement.
According to Taiwan’s defense ministry, PLAAF formation was made up of four nuclear-capable H-6K bombers, ten J-16 fighter jets, and other aircraft.
Taiwan’s defence ministry said the air force deployed missiles to “monitor” the incursion into the southwestern part of its air defence identification zone.
It marked the largest incursion to date by the Chinese air force since Taiwan’s defence ministry began disclosing almost daily Chinese military flights over the waters between the southern part of Taiwan and the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands in the South China Sea last year.
The incursion came as the island’s air force suspended all training missions after two fighter jet crashes this week.
China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, has stepped up military activities near the democratic island in recent months, a move Taiwan says jeopardizes regional stability.
There was no immediate comment from China’s defence ministry. Beijing routinely says such exercises are nothing unusual and are designed to show the country’s determination to defend its sovereignty.