Chinese pressure on Taiwan has increased with the entry of over 145 Chinese military aircraft into the island's identification zone for four days.
More than 145 Chinese military aircraft in four days
More than 145 Chinese military aircraft of the People's Liberation Army have penetrated Taiwan's identification air zone in four days. A peak of 52 aircraft was reported by the Taiwanese Ministry of Defence on 4 October alone, well above the previous record of 28 simultaneous aircraft sent in June 2021. Taipei provides details on the composition of this fleet: 36 Shenyang J-16 multi-role fighters and two Sukhoi Su-30s from which it would be derived, two Y-8 maritime patrol aircraft, two KJ-500 radar aircraft, as well as 12 nuclear-capable Xian H-6 bombers, a Chinese version of the Tupolev 16.
Three naval air groups in the area
This show of force, which corresponds to the anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China 72 years ago, led to the Taiwanese air force (or RCAF for "Republic of China Air Force") being put on high alert, with its fighter planes taking off and its ground-to-air air defence missiles being put on alert. The United States and the United Kingdom, which were taking part in an exercise off Okynawa from 2 to 3 October, have three naval air groups in the area: the nuclear-powered aircraft carriers USS Carl Vinson and USS Ronald Reagan carrying 150 aircraft, including more than 100 F/A-18 C and E and F-35C fighters, and the HMS Queen Elizabeth with 36 F-35Bs. The ships are currently in Philippine waters with the Japanese aircraft carrier JS Ise and its potential of 18 V/STOL aircraft so far not activated, limited to helicopters.
The 12 nautical mile airspace was not violated
Taiwan's 12-nautical-mile airspace has not been violated to date, as the air defence identification zone (ADIZ) is a maritime region over which civil air traffic control is carried out in the context of national security, a broad definition that goes beyond the air possessions of states. Some twenty countries currently operate ADIZs, including China, the USA, Great Britain, Japan, Russia, India and Taiwan. It is usually considered that this space is militarily under the responsibility of the country that manages it, and that unplanned incursions by foreign aircraft are provocations, such as those of Tu-142s flying along the coast of northern Europe.
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