Taiwan reports incursion by dozens of Chinese warplanes
Taiwan on Tuesday said that China had sent dozens of aircraft into the island’s air defense identification zone as world leaders have ramped up warnings against Beijing over its actions across the Taiwan Strait.
The reported Chinese mission on Tuesday, which included fighter jets and nuclear-capable bombers, marks the largest incursion yet into Taiwan’s airspace. The island’s government has complained of repeated missions by the Chinese air force near the territory, according to Reuters.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said that the latest mission included 14 J-16 and six J-11 fighters as well as four H-6 bombers, which Reuters noted can carry nuclear weapons.
The defense agency also said the 28 Chinese planes Tuesday included anti-submarine, electronic warfare and early warning aircraft.
Taiwan said that its missile systems were deployed to monitor the Chinese aircraft Tuesday, with Taiwanese combat aircraft sent to intercept and warn away the planes.
Reuters reported that the Chinese government has not immediately commented on the reported move by its air force.
The reported actions come just days after Group of Seven (G-7) leaders issued a joint statement defending the “importance of peace and stability” across the Taiwan Strait, which separates China and Taiwan.
While Beijing claims sovereignty over Taiwan, the island has governed itself for decades after the Chinese Civil War.
China following the G-7’s statement accused the alliance of “political manipulation,” with a spokesman telling the leaders to “stop slandering China, stop interfering in China’s internal affairs, and stop harming China’s interests,” according to the BBC.
Top U.S. military leaders have warned in recent months that China may try to invade Taiwan in the next few years.
The U.S. has for decades maintained a policy of “strategic ambiguity” toward Taiwan, in which Washington has not explicitly indicated whether it would defend the island in a potential conflict with China.
Last week, a bipartisan group of senators visited Taiwan to “underscore U.S. support” for the island, according to a press release from Sen. Tammy Duckworth’s (D-Ill.) office.
The group also announced a donation of COVID-19 vaccines to Taiwan, adding, “There is much we can do together to advance our shared prosperity, security and values.”