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Chinese aircraft in biggest Taiwan airspace incursion for a year despite US warning

Mayank Aggarwal
·2-min read
<p>File: Chinese and Taiwanese national flags are displayed alongside military airplanes in this illustration </p> (Reuters)

File: Chinese and Taiwanese national flags are displayed alongside military airplanes in this illustration


More than two dozen Chinese aircraft entered Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ) on Monday in what was described by Taipei as the biggest incursion in a year.

According to a statement by Taiwan’s defence ministry, of the 25 aircraft that entered its airspace 18 were fighter jets and the rest were bombers and anti-submarine aircraft. It was the largest daily incursion since Taiwan’s defence ministry started to report Chinese Air Force activities in Taiwan’s ADIZ last year.

Such incursions have become a regular feature of the simmering tensions between China and Taiwan, a self-governing island that Beijing claims as its sovereign territory. China’s Xi Jinping has vowed to take back the island by force, if necessary.

Since 3 April, there have been incursions by the Chinese Air Force every day, the last biggest being 15 aircraft on 7 April.

In response, Taiwan’s defence ministry said that they responded with an air patrol, anti-aircraft missile tracking, and radio warnings.

In October 2020, Taiwan revealed that it had spent almost $900m (£654m) in the first nine months of the year on scrambling its air force against Chinese incursions.

Monday’s incursion came a day after the US secretary of state Antony Blinken warned China against using force against Taiwan during an interview with NBC News.

“What we’ve seen and what is a real concern to us is increasingly aggressive actions by the government in Beijing directed at Taiwan, raising tensions in the straits. And we have a commitment to Taiwan under the Taiwan Relations Act, a bipartisan commitment that’s existed for many, many years, to make sure that Taiwan has the ability to defend itself,” he said.

“We stand behind those commitments. And all I can tell you is it would be a serious mistake for anyone to try to change the existing status quo by force,” Mr Blinken said.

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As tensions have grown between the US and China on a range of issues including trade, Washington has become increasingly vocal in its support of Taiwan, a pattern started during the Trump administration that has continued after Joe Biden became president.

In late March, a US ambassador took part in a visit to Taiwan for the first time in 42 years.

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