by Ailan Evans
Taiwan claims dozens of Chinese warplanes penetrated its airspace Tuesday, the largest and most recent Chinese incursion as tensions between the two countries escalate.
Twenty-eight People’s Liberation Army aircraft, including fighter jets, bombers, and anti-submarine airplanes, entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) Tuesday, according to a report issued by the Taiwan Ministry of National Defense. It marked the largest recorded daily incursion, exceeding a 25-aircraft incursion on April 12, Reuters reports.
Taiwan dispatched air patrol troops to intercept the Chinese planes and mobilized anti-aircraft missile systems in response, the ministry’s report said.
28 PLA aircraft (Y-8 ASW, H-6*4, Y-8 EW, KJ-500 AEW&C*2, J-16*14 and J-11*6) entered #Taiwan’s southwest ADIZ on June. 15, 2021. Please check our official website for more information: https://t.co/JnfN8bOwgl pic.twitter.com/MBJv2jbNMZ
— 國防部 Ministry of National Defense, R.O.C. 🇹🇼 (@MoNDefense) June 15, 2021
Tensions between the two countries have been fraught in recent months, with frequent Chinese air force missions entering Taiwan airspace near the Taiwan-owned Pratas Islands, according to Reuters. China claims Taiwan as its territory, and its Defense Ministry declared in January that “Taiwan independence means war.”
China has previously defended its repeated intrusions into Taiwanese airspace as essential to protecting its own sovereignty. “The military activities carried out by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army in the Taiwan Strait are necessary actions to safeguard national sovereignty and security,” Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said in January.
Recent China-Taiwan tensions have been centered on the Pratas Islands, Taiwan-controlled land located in the South China Sea. The area has strategic value to China and would need to be acquired should China wish to succeed in internalizing the South China Sea, according to Chinese foreign policy expert Yoshiyuki Ogasawara.
The intrusion comes following a visit by Sens. Tammy Duckworth, Dan Sullivan, and Chris Coons to Taiwan last week to pledge COVID-19 vaccines for the country, a move which was criticized by Chinese media. The Biden administration sent an unofficial delegation to Taipei in April to affirm U.S. commitment to Taiwan.
The State Department did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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Ailan Evans is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “Chengdu J-20” by Alert5 CC BY-SA 4.0.