According to Reuters, China sent 29 aircraft into Taiwan’s air defense zone on June 21. Taiwan then scrambled jets to warn them away. It is the third-highest number of Chinese warplanes sent to Taiwan’s skies in 2022.
Taiwan has constantly complained about China’s frequent air force operations near its territory, often in the southwestern part of its air defense identification zone (ADIZ), close to the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands.
China’s June 29 mission included 17 fighters and six H-6 bombers. The rest were a mix of aircraft, such as electronic warfare, early warning and control, electronic intelligence, antisubmarine and aerial refueling.
Some flew northeast of the Pratas, while others, including bombers, flew into the Bashi Channel before returning to the mainland via the same route.
Taiwan immediately sent combat aircraft to warn them away with radio warnings while missile systems monitored their activities.
The incursion was the most significant in June and the third-largest this year.
The largest took place on January 23 with 39 aircraft; the next was recorded on May 30, involving 30 warplanes.
China has previously stated that such moves were drills intended to protect the country’s sovereignty but gave no immediate comment this time.
Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu says this is the Chinese military’s large-scale exercise and shows a (quote) “more serious than ever” threat.” (unquote)
Wu states on Twitter, “But there’s no way #Taiwan will cave in & surrender its sovereignty & democracy to the big bully. Not a chance!”
There are no shots fired, and the Chinese planes have not been flying in the self-governed island’s airspace. However, monitors and patrols of a broader area in its ADIZ will give Taiwan more time to respond to any threats.
Despite Taiwan’s warning, China sent another six warplanes into Taiwan’s southwest airspace on June 22.