TAIPEI: Taiwan’s defence ministry said it spotted 28 Chinese air force planes in its
air defence zone
on Wednesday morning, part of what Taipei calls regular harassment by Beijing amid heightened tensions across the strait.
Democratically-governed Taiwan, which China views as its own territory, has complained in recent years of stepped up Chinese military activities near the island as Beijing seeks to assert its sovereignty claims.
Taiwan’s defence ministry said that beginning at around 6 a.m. (2200 GMT Tuesday) Chinese war planes, including J-10 fighters, had flown into the southwestern corner of the island’s air defence identification zone, or ADIZ.
Some of the Chinese aircraft crossed the Bashi Channel to carry out drills with the Chinese aircraft carrier the Shandong in the Pacific, the ministry added.
China’s defence ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Taiwan’s forces monitored the situation, including sending up its own air force planes and activating air defence systems, the ministry added, using the normal phrasing for its response to such Chinese incursions.
A Chinese naval formation led by the Shandong entered the western Pacific for training, Taiwan’s defence ministry said on Monday.
Separately, more than 20 Chinese warships, including Type 055 destroyers, sailed through the Bashi channel and
into the Pacific on Wednesday, a senior official familiar with security planning in the region told Reuters.
The Chinese naval manoeuvre, along with the training exercises by the carrier group, were an “obvious challenge” to the recent military activities by the United States and its allies in the region, the person said.
“They want to show that they got the total control of the west of the first island chain,” the person said, referring to the area which runs from Japan through Taiwan, the Philippines and on to Borneo, enclosing China’s coastal seas.
A US and a Canadian warship sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Saturday, the US Navy said, marking the second such joint mission since June and coinciding with the leaders of both countries attending the G20 summit in India.
The two countries’ navies also conducted a series of exercises in the South China Sea this week, according to the US Navy.
Beijing has been increasing its military operations around Taiwan over the past few years in response to what it calls “collusion” between Taiwan independence forces and the US.