China’s PLA sends 19 military aircrafts to Taiwan air defense zone, Taipei scrambles jets to counter

Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said that 19 Chinese military aircrafts including fighters and nuclear-capable bombers entered its air defence identification zone (ADIZ) on Sunday.

Taipei has been complaining for more than a year about repeated missions by China’s air force near the island. China sees democratic Taiwan as a breakaway province, but Taiwan sees itself as a sovereign state. Taiwan’s defense ministry said Sunday’s mission by the Chinese air force involved four H-6 bombers, capable of carrying nuclear weapons, as well as an anti-submarine aircraft. Taiwan deployed missile systems and dispatched combat aircraft to warn away the Chinese planes, the ministry added.

Last week Taiwan’s defense ministry warned that China’s armed forces could “paralyse” Taiwan’s defenses and that the Chinese threat is growing. It was not clear what might have prompted China to launch its aircraft this time, but China has been describing its activities as necessary to protect the country’s sovereignty and deal with “collusion” between Taipei and Washington.

State media quoting Chinese mainland analysts said it was a part of a routine drill, which displayed the unshakable power gap between the PLA and the armed forces on the island despite Taiwan’s recent military spending proposal targeting the PLA. Beijing often launches such missions to express displeasure at comments made by Taiwan. In June, it sent 28 military jets into the ADIZ – the largest incursion reported by Taiwan to date. On 24 January, a similar mission saw 15 aircraft entering Taiwan’s air defence zone while on 12 April, Taiwan reported 25 jets.

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