Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense announced today, Wednesday, that in the past 24 hours it had detected 19 aircraft of the Chinese Air Force in its air defense zone, as part of what Taipei describes as regular provocations from Beijing.
Taiwan, which China considers part of its territory, has complained over the past three years of intense Chinese military activities near the island in an attempt by Beijing to assert its claims of sovereignty.
China asserts that its activities in the region are justified in its endeavor to defend the integrity and territorial integrity of its territory and to warn the United States against “collusion” with Taiwan, despite the anger that this raises in Taipei.
Taiwan’s defense ministry said 19 planes, all of them J-10 fighters, flew into the southwest corner of the Taiwanese air defense zone. This corner is closer to the Chinese coast than to Taiwan, according to a map released by the ministry.
The planes did not cross the dividing line in the Taiwan Strait, which was previously considered an unofficial separator between the two sides, and the Chinese forces have been flying their planes over it almost daily since maneuvers near Taiwan last August.
The Chinese planes were flying over Taiwan’s air defense zone, not in its airspace.
The Taiwan Air Defense Zone is a large area that Taiwan monitors and patrols, meant to give it plenty of time to respond to any threats.
Taiwan’s democratically elected government has often offered talks with China, but at the same time stresses that the island will defend itself if attacked and that the fate of the island rests solely in the hands of its people.