This year, China has made the second greatest intrusion into Taiwan’s air defence zone, with Taipei claiming 30 jets, including more than 20 fighters, entering the territory.
Taiwan’s defence ministry said late Monday that it had scrambled its own planes and deployed air defence missile systems to keep an eye on China’s latest moves.
Beijing has began sending huge sorties into Taiwan’s defence zone in recent years to express dissatisfaction and to put Taipei’s ageing fighter force under regular stress.
democratically self-governing Taiwan is constantly threatened by invasion by China, which considers the island to be its territory and has threatened to take it by force if necessary.
Last week, the US accused Beijing of inflaming tensions over the island, citing aircraft incursions as an example of “increasingly provocative rhetoric and conduct,” according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Blinken’s comments come after US President Joe Biden appeared to defy decades of US policy when he indicated during a visit to Japan that if Taiwan was invaded by China, Washington would support it militarily.
The White House, on the other hand, has maintained that its policy of “strategic ambiguity” on whether or not to intervene has not altered.
The invasion on Monday was the greatest since a total of 39 planes crossed the air defence identification zone, or ADIZ, on January 23.
The ADIZ is not the same as Taiwan’s territorial airspace; it encompasses a much larger area that overlaps with parts of China’s own air defence identification zone, as well as some mainland territory.
The jets entered the southern corner of the ADIZ before circling back out, according to a flight map given by the Taiwanese defence ministry.
According to an AFP database, Chinese jets entered Taiwan’s ADIZ 969 times last year, more than double the 380 times they did in 2020.
On October 4, 2021, China sent the most planes in a single day, with 56.
In that month, there were a total of 196 intrusions, the most of which occurred around China’s annual national day celebrations.
Taiwan has reported 465 invasions so far in 2022, an almost 50% rise over the same period last year.
The sheer volume of missions has put the air force under a lot of strain, and it’s seen a lot of tragic mishaps in recent years.
A pilot died after crashing a training jet in southern Kaohsiung, according to local media on Tuesday.
It is not the first fatal crash this year; in January, an F-16V, one of Taiwan’s most advanced fighter jets, crashed into the sea.
Taiwan grounded all military aircraft in March after a pilot was killed and another went missing in a mid-air collision between its fighter jets, the third fatal accident in less than six months.