Taiwan on Tuesday said that 25 Chinese military jets had entered airspace which Taipei identifies as its air defense identification zone (ADIZ) – a new record number for this year.
The Chinese jets flew over the Taiwan Strait and ADIZ on Monday, daily Taiwan News reported.
It was the 10th such movement of Chinese jets this month.
China claims Taiwan as a “breakaway province” while Taipei has insisted on its independence since 1949.
The so-called “middle line” in the Taiwan Strait was drawn by the US when it signed a mutual defense treaty with Taiwan in 1954.
Taiwan defines the ADIZ as an area that extends beyond a country’s air space where air traffic controllers ask incoming aircraft to identify themselves.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said it was the People’s Liberation Army Air Force’s (PLAAF) “largest incursion” so far this year when 22 warplanes entered the southwest corner of Taiwan’s ADIZ, including 14 Shenyang J-16 fighter jets, four Chengdu J-10 fighters, and four Xian H-6 bombers.
In addition, three Chinese turboprops – two Shaanxi Y-8 anti-submarine warfare planes and one Shaanxi KJ-500 airborne early warning and control aircraft – were also found in the same area.
The ministry said Taiwan reacted to the situation, “scrambled jets, issued radio warnings, and deployed air defense missile systems to track the PLAAF planes.”
On March 26, at least 20 Chinese aircraft were detected in the ADIZ.
Air activity in the region has seen a sharp rise since last September, especially after the US intensified its interaction with Taiwan. Taipei has been one of the biggest recipients of military equipment from Washington, causing friction with Beijing, which sees this as an attack on its sovereignty.
Most of the Chinese aircraft have been seen in the southwest corner of the ADIZ, and most were slow-flying turboprops, according to the daily.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said Chinese planes entered the ADIZ 27 times in January, 17 times in February, and 18 times in March.
They also entered 19 times in December, 22 times in November, and 22 times in October, including a drone on Oct. 22 last year.