Taiwan scrambles jets to warn away 29 Chinese planes in its Air Defense Identification Zone

Taiwan scrambles jets to warn away 29 Chinese planes in its Air Defense Identification Zone

Taiwan has scrambled jets to warn away 29 Chinese aircraft in its Air Defense Identification Zone, including bombers that flew to the south of the island and into the Pacific.

The latest Chinese mission included 17 fighters and six H-6 bombers, as well as aircraft with electronic warfare, early warning and anti-submarine capabilities, and an aerial refueling aircraft, Taiwan’s defense ministry said.

Some of the aircraft flew in an area to the north-east of the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands, according to a map the ministry provided.

However, the bombers, accompanied by an electronic warfare and an intelligence gathering aircraft, flew into the Bashi Channel that separates Taiwan from the Philippines and into the Pacific before turning back to China on the route they came in.

Taiwan sent combat aircraft to warn away the Chinese aircraft, while missile systems were deployed to monitor them, the ministry said, using standard wording for its response.

It was the largest incursion since Taiwan reported 30 Chinese aircraft in its Air Defense Identification Zone on May 30.

The largest to date this year occurred on January 23, involving 39 aircraft.

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A map shows China and Taiwan with their respective flags on their territory
China views Taiwan as its territory.(ABC News: GFX/Jarrod Fankhauser)

Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, has complained for the past two years or so of repeated missions by the Chinese air force near the democratically governed island, often in the south-western part of its Air Defense Identification Zone.

Taiwan calls China’s repeated nearby military activities “grey zone” warfare, designed to both wear out Taiwanese forces by making them repeatedly scramble, and also to test Taiwanese responses.

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There was no immediate comment from China, which has in the past said that such moves were drills aimed at protecting the country’s sovereignty.

China launched its third aircraft carrier on Friday, the Fujian, named after the province opposite Taiwan.

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