The island’s defense ministry announced on Thursday, December 22 that Taiwan scrambled fighter planes to warn away 39 Chinese aircraft that had entered its southern air defense zone.
Taiwan has complained about recurrent Chinese air force flights in the south of its air defense identification zone (ADIZ) during the past two years.
The intrusion on Thursday included 21 fighters, four H-6 bombers, and early warning, antisubmarine, and aerial refueling aircraft, according to a report summarizing Chinese activity in Taiwan’s ADIZ over the last 24 hours.
According to a chart released by the ministry, several of the aircraft traveled over a canal known as the Bashi Channel to a location off the island’s southeast shore. Three Chinese naval vessels were also spotted near Taiwan, according to the ministry.
The ministry stated, in normal response language, that Taiwan dispatched unidentified fighter aircraft to deter the Chinese aircraft, while missile systems tracked their path.
The defence ministry’s research and development arm, the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, is conducting a missile shooting exercise this week on Taiwan’s southeastern coast, according to separate official announcements.
China, which claims Taiwan as its own, has increased pressure on Taiwan in recent years to accept Beijing’s authority. The Taiwanese government denies China’s claims and asserts that it seeks peace but will defend itself if attacked.