45 Chinese military aircraft close to Taiwan

The Air Defense Identification Zone was breached by 45 Chinese aircraft, including fighters, bombers, and surveillance planes, according to the Taiwanese Defense Agency.

Taiwan’s defense office reported 71 Chinese military planes and 9 naval ships approaching the island as of the afternoon of April 8. At least 45 military planes, including J-10s, J-11s, J-16s, Y-20 transports, H-6K bombers, and KJ-500 reconnaissance planes, have crossed the strait’s median line or flown inside the island’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ).

Aircraft of Taiwan’s Air Combat Patrol (CAP), naval ships, and ground air defense forces monitor Chinese weapons activities. The Taiwan Defense Agency also deployed the corvette Truong Khien to follow the Chinese frigate Ma Yen Son.

Officials from Taiwan have stated that while the self-defense force will increase vigilance, it will not instigate or worsen tensions.

The drill, which will take place from now through April 10 in the waters and airspace of the Taiwan Strait, has been declared by China’s Eastern Theater Command.

The Chinese military has stressed that the drill is a warning to “foreign forces” and independence-claiming forces on the island, with the stated goal of improving combat preparation to safeguard China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Taiwan.

State-run Chinese media reported that the first day of the exercises involved role-playing scenarios in which the Chinese military encircled the island and took control of the surrounding airspace, waterways, and communications. On April 10, live-fire exercises will be conducted in waters between Taiwan and Fujian province.

According to Global Times, China also brought out the big guns for this drill, including DF-11 ballistic missiles and YJ-12B anti-ship missiles.

45 Chinese military aircraft close to Taiwan
Taiwan’s frigate Zhang Qian follows the Chinese navy’s frigate Ma Yanshan on April 8. Photo: CNA

The exercises coincided with the first-ever meeting between the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives and Taiwanese leaders on the territory, which took place on April 5 in California between Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and US Representative Kevin McCarthy. China strongly criticized the summit and urged its neighbors to take firm action to preserve its independence.

After Mr. McCarthy’s predecessor, Nancy Pelosi, visited Taiwan in August 2022, China reacted angrily by conducting unprecedented large-scale live-fire drills surrounding Taiwan and imposing penalties on the former Speaker of the US House of Representatives.

China views Taiwan as a province awaiting reunification, and the use of force has not been ruled out. Meanwhile, Taiwan maintains that only the people of Taiwan have the right to determine the island’s destiny.