Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defence (MND) has claimed that 71 Chinese aircraft, including fighter jets and drones, have entered its air defence identification zone (ADIZ).
In a tweet, Taiwan MND said: “71 PLA aircraft and 7 PLAN vessels around Taiwan were detected in our surrounding region by 6 a.m. (UTC+8) today. ROC Armed Forces have monitored situation and tasked CAP aircraft, Navy vessels, and land-based missile systems to respond these activities.”
The MND also provided a map showing flight path of different PLA aircraft that crossed the median line separating the island from China.
Taiwan identified a total of 47 aircraft, including 12 J-11, six SU-30, six J-10, one CH-4 uncrewed combat aerial vehicle, 18 J-16 aircraft and one Y-8 electronic warfare aircraft, one Y-8 anti-submarine warfare aircraft, one KJ-500 airborne early warning and control aircraft and a WZ-7 uncrewed aircraft.
According to Reuters’ report, the Taiwan’s official Central News Agency has claimed that this was the largest Chinese PLA incursion so far.
A day before on 25 December, Chinese armed forces began conducting a series of security patrols, joint combat readiness exercises and firepower striking drills in and around the waters and airspace of Taiwanese Island.
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In a statement, PLA Eastern Theater Command (ETC) spokesperson Army senior colonel Shi Yi said: “This is a firm response to current escalation of provocations by the US in collusion with Taiwan authorities.”
The US has also raised concerns regarding the recent PLA‘s activities around Taiwan and termed it as ‘provocative’ and ‘destabilising’, another Reuters report claimed.
US National Security Council statement said: “We will continue to assist Taiwan in maintaining a sufficient self-defence capability in line with our long-standing commitments with our one China policy.”