The Taiwanese military claims it used fighter jets to repel 30 Chinese warplanes that had entered its air defense zone. Monday’s incursion marked the largest since January. On the same day, US officials visited the island to discuss security with leaders. Earlier this month, United States President Joe Biden warned China against invading Taiwan.
Taiwan,at the junction of the East and South China Seas, said it deployed fighter planes to warn off thirty Chinese military planes’ incursion into its air defense identification zone. Since January, Beijing has made its biggest invasion, pic.twitter.com/fQPe1YjID8
— Live News Now (@LiveNewsNow6) May 31, 2022
The Chinese government has intensified its air missions in the past few months, claiming that the flights are training exercises. Taiwan has expressed anger over such moves, and tensions in the region have increased. China sees Taiwan as an independent province, which it can take by force if needed.
Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone
According to Taiwan’s defense ministry, twenty-two fighter jets, electronic warfare aircraft, early warning aircraft, and antisubmarine jets participated in this incident. According to the ministry’s map, the fighter jets flew in a region northeast of the Pratas Islands, which is part of Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ).
However, those aircraft didn’t enter the airspace of Taiwan, which would have been seen as hostile. An ADIZ is a space outside a country’s territorial airspace, where foreign aircraft are still identified, monitored, and controlled for national security purposes. Technically, it is an international space that is self-declared.
Grey Zone Warfare
Earlier this year, Taiwan reported that Chinese aircraft were flying into its ADIZ, a practice known as “grey zone warfare” aimed at testing their military response and wearing them out. Some analysts claim the incursions were meant to warn Taiwan’s government against formally declaring independence. However, Chinese officials have said these exercises are designed to protect their sovereignty.
30 PLA aircrafts (KJ-500 AEW&C*2, Y-8 ELINT*4, Y-8 EW*1, Y-8 ASW*1, J-16*6, J-11*8, J-10*4, SU-35*2, and SU-30*2) entered #Taiwan’s southwest ADIZ on May 30, 2022. Please check our official website for more information: https://t.co/0lmMYSyNQr pic.twitter.com/OwUE8CXF5G
— 國防部 Ministry of National Defense, R.O.C. 🇹🇼 (@MoNDefense) May 30, 2022
Last week, Biden visited Asia, his first trip to the region as president, and spoke about air incursions. Chinese planes flying so close to Taiwan were already “fleeting with danger right now,” he said. He also issued his strongest warning to the Chinese, saying the US would respond militarily if Beijing attempted to invade Taiwan. According to him, the United States has shifted away from its longstanding policy of “strategic ambiguity” concerning Taiwan, in which it deliberately was vague about its policy towards Taiwan in such a situation.