TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan’s air force rushed again on Monday to warn 13 Chinese planes that entered its air defense zone, the Taiwanese Defense Ministry said, during the latest surge of tensions in the Taiwan Strait.
Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, has complained of such regular missions by the Chinese air force for the past two years, although the plane does not come close to Taiwan itself.
Taiwan is currently on heightened alert over fears that China could use the Russian invasion of Ukraine to carry out similar military action on the island, although the Taipei government has not reported any movement. unusual chinese.
The number of planes involved was far lower than the last large-scale incursion, 39 Chinese planes on January 23, and since then such overflights have been sporadic with far fewer planes.
The ministry said the latest mission involved seven Chinese J-10 and five J-16 fighters as well as a Y-8 electronic warplane, which flew over an area northeast of the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands in the upper end of the South China Sea.
Political cartoons about world leaders
Taiwanese fighters were sent to warn Chinese aircraft and air defense missiles were deployed to “monitor activities”, the ministry said, using standard wording for how Taiwan describes its response.
The incident happened on the same day that Taiwan grounded its fleet of Mirage 2000 fighters after one crashed during a training mission, although its other jets, including including the F-16s, remain active.
China has never renounced the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control, and the Taiwan Strait remains a potentially dangerous military powder keg.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Toby Chopra)
Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.