38 Chinese warplanes enter Taiwan’s air defence zone
- The PLA sent 25 planes into the area during the daytime, followed by 13 at night
- First sortie included fighters, bombers and an anti-submarine aircraft, which passed over the Taiwan-held Pratas Islands
A total of 38 People’s Liberation Army planes entered Taiwan’s air defence identification zone on Friday in two separate sorties, the defence ministry in Taipei said.
The flights saw 25 planes entering the area in the daytime, followed by 13 at night, the ministry said.
Taiwan’s military responded with radio warnings to leave and deployed air defense missile systems.
Taiwan denounces mainland China for ‘over the top’ flights into island’s air defence zone
The daytime PLA air force mission involved 18 J-16 and four Su-30 fighters plus two nuclear-capable H-6 bombers and an anti-submarine aircraft, the Taiwan ministry said.
It said Taiwan sent combat aircraft to warn away the PLA aircraft, while missile systems were deployed to monitor them.
The Chinese aircraft all flew in an area close to the Pratas, with the two bombers flying closest to the atoll, according to a map that the ministry issued.
There was no immediate comment from China.
The largest sortie to date happened in June, involving 28 PLA air force aircraft.
Last week, China’s air force flew 24 fighter jets toward Taiwan after it announced it would apply to join a Pacific trade group that Beijing also applied to join.
Beijing regards Taiwan as a breakaway province and has not ruled out the use of force to reunify it with the mainland.