| 27 February 2024, Tuesday |

Taiwan reports largest incursion yet by Chinese air force

According to Taiwan’s government, 28 Chinese air force aircraft, including fighters and nuclear-capable bombers, entered the island’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on Tuesday, the greatest reported intrusion to date.

While Beijing has yet to respond, the news comes after the Group of Seven leaders published a joint statement on Sunday chastising China on a number of problems and emphasizing the significance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, which China has denounced as “slander.”

Chinese-claimed Taiwan has complained about Chinese air force flights near the self-ruled island in recent months, particularly in the southern part of its air defense zone near the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands.

According to Taiwan’s Defense Ministry, the newest Chinese deployment included 14 J-16 and six J-11 fighters, as well as four H-6 bombers capable of carrying nuclear bombs and anti-submarine, electronic warfare, and early warning planes.

It was the greatest daily intrusion since the ministry began documenting Chinese Air Force actions in Taiwan’s ADIZ last year, surpassing the previous high of 25 aircraft reported on April 12.

The ministry added that Taiwanese combat aircraft were dispatched to intercept and warn away the Chinese aircraft, while missile systems were also deployed to monitor them.

Not only did the Chinese aircraft fly in an area close to the Pratas Islands, but the bombers and some of the fighters flew around the southern part of Taiwan close to the bottom tip of the island, according to a map the ministry provided.

A request for comment from China’s Defense Ministry was not returned.

Such operations have previously been portrayed by China as required to preserve the country’s sovereignty and combat “collusion” between Taipei and Washington.

The United States, which, like the majority of countries, has no official diplomatic connections with Taiwan, has been watching the escalating tensions with Beijing with concern.

Taiwan is China’s most sensitive territorial issue, according to Beijing, and a red line that the US should not cross. It has never ruled out the use of force in the case of eventual union.

  • Reuters