25 PLA planes fly through Taiwan's ADIZ on Monday, most this year

04/12/2021 10:36 PM
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A J-16 multi-role fighter. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of National Defense
A J-16 multi-role fighter. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of National Defense

Taipei, April 12 (CNA) A total of 25 Chinese military aircraft entered Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Monday, the most on any single day so far this year, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said the same day.

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft involved in the sorties were 14 J-16 multi-role fighters, four J-10 multi-role fighters, four H-6K bombers, 2 Y-8 anti-submarine planes and one KJ-500 airborne early warning and control plane, according to the MND.

All of the aircraft operated in airspace southwest of Taiwan, between Taiwan and the Taiwanese-held Pratas Islands, an MND chart showed.

The 25 Chinese aircraft flying through Taiwan's ADIZ on Monday beat the previous high this year of 20 PLA planes entering the ADIZ on March 26 after Taipei and Washington signed an accord to strengthen maritime cooperation.

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.

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.

Still, PLA flights into Taiwan's ADIZ are seen by Taiwan as provocations, and they have gained in intensity.

Though they have occurred on almost a daily basis since mid-September 2020, when Taiwan's MND began to make public such missions, it has only been recently that Beijing has deployed double digit numbers of aircraft into the ADIZ in a single day.

It was unclear why Beijing deployed so many military aircraft to the area on Monday, but it coincided with United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken's warning to Beijing on its "increasingly aggressive actions" directed against Taiwan.

"It would be a serious mistake for anyone to try to change that status quo by force," Blinken said in an interview with the NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday (U.S. time).

After the interview, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) issued a statement expressing appreciation for Blinken's support to Taiwan and U.S. recognition of the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

Beijing, which sees Taiwan as part of its territory, has expressed its intention to "reunify" with Taiwan, by force if necessary.

(By Matt Yu and Emerson Lim)

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