Taiwan scrambles jets to warn away Chinese planes in its air zone as tensions simmer

In this article, you will learn all you need to know about Taiwan scrambling airplanes to warn Chinese planes away from its airspace as tensions rise.

In the latest flare-up and heaviest invasion since late May, Taiwan scrambled planes to scare away 29 Chinese aircraft in its air defense zone, including bombers that flew to the south of the island and into the Pacific.

Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, has been complaining for the past two years or so about repeated missions by the Chinese air force near the democratically governed island, frequently in the south-western part of its air defence identification zone, or ADIZ, close to the Taiwan-controlled Pratas islands.

Taiwan refers to China’s frequent neighboring military exercises as “grey zone” warfare, which is intended to wear down Taiwanese troops by forcing them to scramble repeatedly, as well as to test Taiwanese responses.

According to Taiwan’s defense ministry, the newest Chinese mission on Tuesday comprised 17 fighters and six H-6 bombers, as well as electronic warfare, early warning, antisubmarine, and aerial refueling aircraft.

According to a map given by the ministry, several of the aircraft flew in a region to the north-east of the Pratas.

The bombers, escorted by an electronic warfare and information collecting aircraft, flew into the Bashi Channel, which divides Taiwan from the Philippines, and then into the Pacific before returning to China by the same path they came in.

Taiwan sent combat planes to warn off the Chinese aircraft, while missile systems were deployed to monitor them, according to the ministry’s normal reaction.

It was the greatest invasion since Taiwan detected 30 Chinese aircraft in its air defense identification zone on May 30. The biggest so far this year took place on January 23, involving 39 planes.

There was no immediate response from China, which has previously said that similar operations were exercises to preserve the country’s sovereignty.

In an email to Reuters, a US State Department official said Beijing should “stop its military, diplomatic, and economic coercion and intimidation towards Taiwan.”

On Friday, China launched its third aircraft carrier, the Fujian, named after the province that borders Taiwan.

Last month, China’s military claimed it staged an exercise surrounding Taiwan as a “solemn warning” against “collusion” with the US.

That comes after US President Joe Biden seemed to herald a shift in the US policy of “strategic ambiguity” on Taiwan by declaring the US would intervene militarily if China attacked the island.

China has increased pressure on Taiwan to recognise its claims to sovereignty. The leadership in Taipei claims to seek peace but would defend itself if attacked.

No guns were fired, and the Chinese planes were not flying in Taiwan’s airspace, but in the ADIZ, a larger region that Taiwan monitors and patrols to allow it more time to react to any threats.


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