Chinese military early warning plane enters Taiwan's ADIZ

06/04/2021 08:51 PM
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A KJ-500 airborne early warning and control plane. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of National Defense
A KJ-500 airborne early warning and control plane. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of National Defense

Taipei, June 4 (CNA) A Chinese military aircraft entered the southwest corner of Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ) Friday, the second day in a row such incursions have taken place.

According to a report from Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND), the Chinese aircraft involved was a KJ-500 airborne early warning and control plane from the People's Liberation Army (PLA).

Taiwan's Air Force responded by scrambling planes to monitor the Chinese aircraft, issuing radio warnings and mobilizing air defense assets until the Chinese planes left the area, the MND said.

The aircraft operated in airspace southwest of Taiwan, between Taiwan and the Taiwanese-held Pratas Islands, which is considered by Taiwan to be part of its ADIZ, an MND chart showed.

An ADIZ is declared by a country to allow it to identify, locate and control approaching foreign aircraft, but such zones are not considered territorial airspace.

In the first four days of June, PLA planes entered Taiwan's ADIZ on Thursday and Friday, using a Y-8 electronic warfare aircraft and a KJ-500, respectively, MND data showed.

Based on CNA's calculations using MND data, PLA planes have conducted 311 sorties into Taiwan's ADIZ on 104 days in 2021.

Analysts in Taiwan have speculated that such flights could be part of PLA training to familiarize itself with the environment around Taiwan.

Meanwhile, Kenneth Wilsbach, commander of the U.S. Pacific Air Force, said during a teleconference with Asia-based media on Friday that PLA flights near Taiwan, and recently near Malaysia, were "destabilizing" and "escalatory."

He was referring to routine PLA aircraft operations close to Taiwan, and the appearance of 16 PLA transport planes in airspace within 60 nautical miles of Malaysia's Sarawak state on May 31.

However, the Chinese Embassy in Malaysia said in a statement that the PLA planes were conducting a routine training mission and stressed they did not enter the territorial airspace of any country.

(By Chung Yu-chen and Emerson Lim)

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