China launches 39 planes near Taiwan; The US Navy sails on 2 aircraft carriers
China sent 39 warplanes – mostly fighter jets – into Taiwan’s air defense zone on Sunday, the island’s government said, in the second-largest daily incursion on record.
Taiwan lives under the constant threat of invasion by China, which considers the democratic and self-governing island part of its territory to be taken back eventually, by force if necessary.
The last quarter of 2021 saw a massive spike in Chinese incursions into Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), with the biggest day being October 4, when 56 Chinese fighter jets entered The area.
The island’s Defense Ministry said on Sunday evening it saw 39 Chinese warplanes enter Taiwan’s ADIZ – the second-highest number of incursions on record, which is shared with Oct. 2 this year. last.
He said he scrambled his own planes to issue warnings on Sunday and deployed air defense missile systems to track planes entering his area.
The fighter jets included 24 J-16 fighters, which experts say are among China’s favorite planes to test Taiwan’s air defenses, 10 J-10 fighters and a nuclear-capable H-6 bomber.
It is still unclear why China launched such a large one-day mission.
But the incursions come on the heels of the United States and Japan conducting naval exercises in the Philippine Sea, an area that includes waters just east of Taiwan.
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Ten U.S. Navy ships, including the aircraft carriers USS Carl Vinson and USS Abraham Lincoln, participated in exercises with Japan Jan. 17-22 “for effective deterrence and response,” the Navy’s Navy tweeted on Monday. self-defense of Japan.
Taiwan only started regularly publishing its data on aerial incursions in September 2020.
October remains the busiest month on record, with 196 incursions, including 149 in just four days as Beijing marked its annual national holiday.
The defense zone is not the same as Taiwan’s territorial airspace, but includes a much larger area that overlaps with part of China’s ADIZ.
Beijing has stepped up pressure on Taiwan since Tsai Ing-wen was elected president in 2016 because it considers the island a sovereign nation and not part of a “one China”.
Last year, Taiwan recorded 969 incursions by Chinese warplanes into its ADIZ, according to a database compiled by AFP, more than double the roughly 380 incursions made in 2020.
Taiwan’s air force has suffered a string of fatal accidents in recent years as its aging fleet is kept under constant pressure from China.
The Air Force temporarily grounded all F-16 fighters earlier this month after one of its most advanced F-16V jets crashed into the sea while on a training mission. routine, killing a pilot.