Taiwan scrambles jets as PLA fighters breach air defense zone
Taiwan has reported the largest incursion since January 2022 by the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) in its air defense zone, with the island’s Defense Ministry saying Taiwan fighters scrambled to deter 30 Chinese aircraft.
Taiwan, which the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) claims as its territory, has complained for at least two years of repeated incursions by the PLAAF, often in the southwestern part of the democratically governed island’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) near the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands.
Taiwan calls the military activities “gray zone” warfare, designed to wear out its forces with frequent scrambles and to test its responses.
The latest CCP incursion included 22 fighters, as well as electronic warfare, early warning and antisubmarine aircraft, the Taiwan Defense Ministry said. The aircraft flew northeast of the Pratas but far from Taiwan.
Taiwan sent combat aircraft to warn away the Chinese aircraft, while missile systems were deployed to monitor them, the Defense Ministry said. (Pictured: Taiwan F-16V fighter jets ready for takeoff in November 2021.)
It was the largest incursion since Taiwan reported 39 Chinese aircraft in its ADIZ on January 23, 2022.
The CCP acknowledged conducting an exercise around Taiwan as a “solemn warning” against the island’s “collusion” with the United States. The incursion came as Quadrilateral Security Dialogue leaders from Australia, India, Japan and the U.S. met in Tokyo in late May.
IMAGE CREDIT: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS