Taiwan reports largest incursion by Chinese air force, nuclear-capable bombers involved
- According to Taiwan’s ministry of defence, the Chinese incursion involved 14 J-16 and six J-11 fighters, as well as four H-6 bombers.
As many as 28 aircraft of the Chinese air force entered Taiwan's air defence identification zone (ADIZ) on Tuesday in the largest reported incursion to date, the island's government said. Taiwan has frequently complained about repeated Chinese incursions, which has increased in the past few months.
Beijing has become more assertive on the reunification of Taiwan with China under “one country, two systems”, which has threatened Taiwan’s claim of sovereignty. While the self-ruled island republic considers itself as sovereign, China claims Taiwan as Beijing’s territory under its one-China policy.
According to Taiwan’s ministry of defence, the Chinese incursion involved 14 J-16 and six J-11 fighters, as well as four H-6 bombers, which can carry nuclear weapons, and anti-submarine, electronic warfare and early warning aircraft. The latest incursion is the largest since the defence ministry began regularly reporting PLA activities in Taiwan's ADIZ last year. The previous record was of 25 aircraft reported on April 12.
The ministry said that air patrol troops were dispatched to respond to the incursion and warn away the Chinese aircraft. Radio warnings issued and air defence missile systems deployed to monitor the activity, the ministry added.
In the past, China has described such missions as necessary to protect the country's sovereignty and to deal with "collusion" between Taiwan and the United States. On the other hand, the West is wary of China’s growing economic clout and expansionist behaviour in the region. The United States, which like most countries has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, has watched with alarm the stepped-up tensions with Beijing.
The Group of Seven richest democracies on Sunday issued a joint communique underscoring the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and encouraged the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues. They also raised serious concerns over the situation in the East and South China Seas, strongly opposing any unilateral attempts to change the status quo and increase tensions, which was dismissed by China as “slander”.
(With agency inputs)