China deploys 71 warplanes in military exercises around Taiwan
China deployed 71 warplanes in weekend military exercises around Taiwan, Taipei’s defence ministry said Monday, including dozens of fighter jets in one of its biggest daily incursions to date.
The People’s Liberation Army said it had conducted a ‘strike drill’ on Sunday in response to unspecified ‘provocations’ and ‘collusion’ between the United States and the self-ruled island.
Data from Taiwan’s defence ministry showed those drills were one of the largest since they started releasing daily tallies.
In a post on Twitter, Taiwan said 60 fighter jets took part in the drills, including six SU-30 warplanes, some of China’s most advanced.
Moreover, 47 of the sorties crossed into the island’s air defence zone, the third highest daily incursion on record, according to AFP’s database.
Taiwan lives under constant threat of invasion by China, which claims the self-ruled democratic island as part of its territory, to be taken one day.
Beijing has ramped up military, diplomatic and economic pressure on Taiwan under president Xi Jinping as relations have deteriorated.
China did not specify the number of aircraft mobilised for Sunday’s exercises, nor the exact location of these manoeuvres.
Taiwan’s daily tally showed most of the incursions crossed the ‘median line’ which runs down the Taiwan Strait that separates the two sides.
A smaller number were in Taiwan’s southwestern air defence identification zone.
Many nations maintain air defence identification zones, including the United States, Canada, South Korea, Japan and China.
They are not the same as a country’s airspace.
Instead, they encompass a much wider area, in which any foreign aircraft is expected to announce itself to local aviation authorities.
Taiwan’s ADIZ is much larger than its airspace. It overlaps with part of China’s ADIZ and even includes some of the mainland.