Taiwan Scrambles Jets on Reports of China's Nuclear-Capable Bombers Breaching Its Air Defence Zone
Taiwan has been complaining of an uptick in missions by China's air force near the self-ruled island, which Beijing maintains is a renegade province. In purportedly the largest incursion to date, twenty-eight Chinese aircraft, including fighters and nuclear-capable bombers, entered Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ) mid-June.
The air force of the self-governing island of Taiwan scrambled jets on Sunday after its defence ministry reported that 19 aircraft, including nuclear-capable bombers, had breached Taiwan's air defence identification zone (ADIZ).
© REUTERS / Tyrone SiuA Taiwan domestically-built Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF) releases flares during annual Han Kuang military drill simulating the China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) invading the island, in Pingtung county, southern Taiwan August 25, 2016
A Taiwan domestically-built Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF) releases flares during annual Han Kuang military drill simulating the China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) invading the island, in Pingtung county, southern Taiwan August 25, 2016
© REUTERS / Tyrone Siu
Taiwanese combat jets were dispatched in a warning to the Chinese aircraft, said the ministry, while missile systems monitored the progress of the Chinese air force planes. Taiwan, which split from China during a civil war that resulted in the Communist Party taking control of the mainland in 1949, has been vociferously complaining of repeated missions carried out by China's air force near the island. The reported incursions occur mainly in the southwestern part of its air defence zone near the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands.
A map provided by Taiwan's defence ministry indicated that on this occasion, Chinese aircraft flew across an area closer to the Chinese than Taiwanese coast. The breach was accordingly estimated to have occurred northeast of the Pratas.
© NASA . NASASatellite photo of Pratas (Dongsha) Island, a 590-acre island which sits 270 south of Taiwan and 210 east of China. It is controlled by Taiwan.
Satellite photo of Pratas (Dongsha) Island, a 590-acre island which sits 270 south of Taiwan and 210 east of China. It is controlled by Taiwan.
According to Taiwan's defence officials, the latest Chinese mission involved 10 J-16 and four Su-30 fighters, four H-6 bombers, capable of carrying nuclear weapons, and an anti-submarine aircraft.
There has not yet been any statement from Chinese officials.
In mid-June, in what was said to be the largest daily incursion since the Taiwan ministry began reporting Chinese Air Force activities in its ADIZ last year, twenty-eight aircraft entered the zone.
The Chinese mission on June 15 involved 14 J-16 and six J-11 fighters, as well as four H-6 bombers, which can carry nuclear weapons, anti-submarine, electronic warfare and early warning aircraft, said Taiwan's defence ministry.
Beijing vowed to retaliate against approval of the first arms sale by Washington to Taiwan by the Biden administration in early August. The Chinese foreign ministry denounced the US$750 million arms sales package as an infringement of China’s sovereignty and security interests, reported the South China Morning Post.
Beijing’s official policy envisions a peaceful unification of Taiwan with Mainland China. The Chinese authorities have engaged in rounds of talks with island authorities to that effect over several decades. In July, in a speech celebrating the 100th anniversary of the CCP, China’s President Xi Jinping pledged to pursue reunification with Taiwan, which it considers to be an integral part of China.
However, Taipei, in turn, says that it wants dialogue with China, but that it cannot accept Beijing’s proposal for "one country, two systems".