18 Chinese planes near Taiwan

Taiwan’s defense ministry said 18 Chinese military planes flew into the island’s air defense identification zone.

Taiwan’s defense ministry announced May 6 that 18 Chinese military aircraft, including two H-6 bombers, six J-11 fighters, six J-16 fighters, two KJ-500s, a Y-8 anti-submarine Defense aircraft and a Y-8 electronic warfare aircraft.

18 Chinese aircraft, divided into three groups, entered the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on the island of Taiwan. The first group, consisting of J-11 and J-16 fighters and Y-8 electric fighters, flew from the mainland to the waters off the southwestern island of Taiwan and then returned.

The second group, consisting of Y-8 anti-submarine reconnaissance aircraft and H-6 bombers, flew over the southern waters southeast of the island of Taiwan and then back to base. The other group includes KJ-500 early warning aircraft and J-16 fighters flying near the Dongsha Islands.

Taiwan’s defense agency said it dispatched fighter jets to respond and used anti-aircraft missile complexes to pursue the group of Chinese military planes.

Beijing has not yet commented on the report.

China's H-6 bomber flew across the Taiwan Strait in September 2020.  Photo: Taiwan Defense Agency.

China’s H-6 bomber flew across the Taiwan Strait in September 2020. Picture: Taiwan Defense Agency.

The number of Chinese planes participating in this approach to the island of Taiwan is the second highest this year. The closest, largest-scale approach occurred on Jan. 23, when 39 Chinese military planes invaded the island of Taiwan’s ADIZ.

China has always viewed Taiwan as a province awaiting reunification and has vowed to use force if necessary. In addition to flights near the island of Taiwan, the Chinese military also conducted many landing exercises to occupy the coast near the island.

China’s Defense Ministry reiterated that military activities near the island of Taiwan are aimed at protecting the country’s sovereignty and aimed at “collusion” between the island’s “secessionist forces” and the United States, which is Taiwan’s main supporter.

Taiwanese island officials have released information about the close encounters of Chinese military planes since September 2020. The period in which the most close encounters were recorded was October 2021, with 196 visits, 149 of which occurred in the 4 days following China’s National Day.

The island of Taiwan and the strait of the same name.  Graphics: CSIS.

The island of Taiwan and the strait of the same name. Graphic: CSIS.

Nguyen Tien (Corresponding AFP)