According to Taiwan’s Defense Ministry, Taiwanese jets intercepted a Chinese squadron of 29 military aircraft. According to Taipei, it is said to be the third largest incident in Taiwan’s air defense zone this year.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said Taiwanese interceptors intercepted 29 Chinese warplanes, bombers and support planes off the island’s southwestern coast on Tuesday.
The Chinese military planes are said to have flown through the Taiwan-Philippines Channel into the Pacific Ocean and returned the same way, according to Taipei. This is the third largest incident in Taiwan’s air defense zone this year.
The Chinese aircraft were six H-6 bombers, 17 fighter jets and another six support aircraft, the Taiwanese military said. Some of the Chinese military planes are said to have flown northeast of Pratas Atoll in the South China Sea, while the bombers and two escort planes are said to have taken the Bashi Channel route to the Pacific before returning the same way.
Taiwan says it sent interceptors to intercept the Chinese planes. In addition, Taipei also claims to have used missile systems to track the “invaders.” As early as May 30, 30 jets are said to have flown through the Taiwanese air defense zone, and on January 23 of this year a total of 39 aircraft.
“Grey Zone War” by China?
Taiwan’s air defense zone extends far beyond Taiwanese airspace into mainland China, so even the Chinese Air Force’s routine flights into Chinese airspace are technically considered incidents. However, Taipei has repeatedly accused Beijing of waging a “grey-zone war” by using military assets to test Taiwan’s defenses and tiring the island’s military through repeated deployments.
China said it wanted to prevent “collusion” between the “Taiwanese Independence Forces” and the US government with the recent increase in military activities at sea and in the air.
US President Joe Biden declared in March that Washington had a contractual obligation to intervene in any conflict between China and Taiwan. Only a short time later, however, his advisors withdrew these statements and emphasized that US policy had not changed. Last year, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said she “trusted” the US would intervene in the event of an armed conflict.
Taiwan has been a point of contention between China and the United States since 1949. At the time, the nationalist Kuomintang had lost the civil war against the communists in China and occupied the island with US help. The US recognized Taipei as the “Republic of China” until 1978.
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