Two dozen Chinese military aircraft penetrated Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Thursday, prompting the island to respond by “scrambling fighter jets” and “tracking the aircraft with land-based anti-aircraft missiles,” Taiwan News reported.
In the first of two incursions Thursday afternoon, 19 Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) aircraft entered the southwestern corner of Taiwan’s ADIZ at about 4:30 pm local time, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) confirmed.
The first deployment of PLAAF aircraft included “12 Shenyang J-16 fighter jets, two Shaanxi Y-8 anti-submarine warfare (Y-8 ASW) planes, two Xian H-6 bombers, one Shaanxi Y-8 electronic warfare aircraft (Y-8 EW), and two Shenyang J-11 fighter jets,” according to the MND.
About three hours later at 7:15 pm local time, the MND announced that five additional Chinese PLAAF aircraft penetrated the same southwest corner of Taiwan’s ADIZ.
“This time, two Shenyang J-16 fighter jets, one Shaanxi KJ-500 airborne early warning and control aircraft (KJ-500 AEW&C), and two Shenyang J-11 fighters were spotted,” according to Taiwan News.
Taiwan’s MND responded to both aggressions by scrambling its own fighter jets, broadcasting radio warnings to the Chinese PLAAF aircraft, and tracking the Chinese jets “with land-based anti-aircraft missiles,” the newspaper reported.
The Chinese air force deployed a total of 24 military aircraft into Taiwan’s ADIZ on Thursday, which amounted to “the third-largest single-day intrusion of PLAAF planes into Taiwan’s ADIZ” on record, according to Taiwan News.
China’s intimidation of Taiwan on September 23 followed one day after the island filed a formal application to join a pan-Pacific trade pact known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
Taiwan is a sovereign island nation located off the southeast coast of China; it functions independently under its own government and boasts its own military. Despite this, Beijing considers Taiwan a renegade province of China and regularly attempts to block the island from joining any international bodies that would lend it legitimacy on the world’s stage.
True to form, China’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday it “firmly opposes” Taiwan “entering into any official treaty or organization” when asked about the island’s CPTPP application at a regular press conference.
“China firmly opposes all official interactions between Taiwan and any country, firmly rejects Taiwan’s accession to any agreement or organization of official nature. China’s position on this issue is clear,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told Japan’s Kyodo News on September 23.
Responding to Beijing’s remarks in a statement issued late Thursday, Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said China had “no right to speak” about Taiwan’s bid for membership in the CPTPP.
“The Chinese government only wants to bully Taiwan in the international community, and is the arch-criminal in increased hostility across the Taiwan Strait,” the statement read.