Taiwan reports China's largest air defense zone incursion to date

i24NEWS - AFP/Reuters

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In this undated file photo released by Taiwan's Defense Ministry, a Chinese PLA J-16 fighter jet flies in an undisclosed location.
Taiwan Ministry of Defense via AP, FileIn this undated file photo released by Taiwan's Defense Ministry, a Chinese PLA J-16 fighter jet flies in an undisclosed location.

The aircraft included dozens of fighter jets, including six Su-30 warplanes - some of China's most advanced

Some 71 Chinese aircraft entered Taiwan's air defense identification zone in the past 24 hours, the island's defense ministry said Monday, in what is the largest reported incursion to date.

The aircraft included dozens of fighter jets, including six Su-30 warplanes - some of China's most advanced. Of the planes, 43 crossed the Taiwan Strait's median line, an unofficial buffer between the two sides within the defense zone. Additionally, seven Chinese navy ships were detected near Taiwan, the ministry said.

China's military also sent early warning, electronic warfare and antisubmarine aircraft, as well as drones, into Taiwan's southern air defense identification zone, according to the report. The air defense identification zone, or ADIZ, differs from a country's airspace, encompassing a much broader area in which any foreign aircraft is expected to announce itself to local aviation authorities.

HANDOUT / TAIWAN'S DEFENCE MINISTRY / AFP
HANDOUT / TAIWAN'S DEFENCE MINISTRY / AFPA Taiwanese F-16 fighter jet flying alongside a Chinese H-6 nuclear-capable bomber in Taiwan's airspace.

Beijing, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, said it conducted "strike drills" in the sea and airspace around Taiwan in response to what it said was "provocation" from and "collusion" between the democratically governed island and the United States. However, China did not specify the number of aircraft mobilized for Sunday's exercises nor the exact location of these maneuvers. 

Taiwan said the drills showed Beijing was destroying regional peace and trying to intimidate its people. Taipei has complained of repeated missions by the Chinese air force over the last two years, often in southern areas of its ADIZ.

China has ramped up military, diplomatic and economic pressure on Taiwan under President Xi Jinping as relations continue to deteriorate. So far this year, there have been more than 1,700 incursions compared with 969 in 2021 and 146 in 2020.

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