Taiwan says record air intrusion by China

A day after China sent a record 38 aircraft towards Taiwan, the Defence Ministry in Taiwan said Beijing had broken its record of air intrusions for a second straight day.

As many as 39 aircraft in two waves on Saturday entered the Air Defence Identification Zone, the Defence Ministry said in two statements on Sunday, marking an unprecedented stepping up of what Taiwan has called aerial aggression by Beijing.

Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang hit out at China for the air deployments, saying they were facts of “military aggression” and “damaging regional peace”.

The 39 aircraft on Saturday, mostly J-16s and Su-30s, followed 38 on Friday, also comprising J-16s, Su-30s, and two nuclear capable H-6 bombers.

The air intrusions coincided with China’s National Day, marked on Friday, and head of Taiwan’s National Day on October 10.

The deployments were seen in Taipei as “a demonstration to Taiwan and United States of the PLA’s joint combat capabilities and its ability to quickly assemble assets from different units”, the official CNA news agency reported, quoting Chieh Chung, a research fellow at the Taiwan think tank Association of Strategic Foresight, as saying the four waves of incursions, over two days, had “occurred both at night and during the day, in a show of the PLA’s capabilities to deploy military assets to Taiwan at any time.”


Beijing has often used these intrusions into the ADIZ as signalling, the latest coming on China’s National Day. Another intrusion on September 23 coincided with Taiwan saying it had submitted an application to join the 11-nation CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) trade deal, days after China said it had formally applied to join the Pacific pact. Beijing previously also dispatched fighters to coincide with visits of U.S. diplomats to Taiwan.

China’s Foreign Ministry had not commented on the air intrusions at the time of writing. Last month, it strongly hit out at Taiwan’s application to join the CPTPP. “There is only one China in the world,” spokesperson Zhao Lijian said, “and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory.”

The Communist Party run Global Times quoted military expert Song Zhongping as saying “the increasing scale of exercises is normal and routine since the PLA needs more deployment to deter armed forces on the island and foreign interference from other nations.” The deployments, the newspaper said, were also related to “recent movements of US aircraft carriers” with both the USS Ronald Reagan and USS Carl Vinson sailing in waters near Taiwan recently.


U.S. raises concerns

Commenting on Saturday’s record air intrusions, U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the U.S. “is very concerned by the People’s Republic of China’s provocative military activity near Taiwan, which is destabilising, risks miscalculations, and undermines regional peace and stability.”

“We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure and coercion against Taiwan,” he said, adding that the U.S. had “an abiding interest in peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait” and would “continue to assist Taiwan in maintaining a sufficient self-defence capability”.

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Printable version | Dec 8, 2021 4:17:57 AM |

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