Taiwan suffered one of its largest military incursions by Chinese military planes on Tuesday.
Twenty-eight Chinese planes violated the self-ruling island’s airspace by flying over Taiwan’s Air Defense Identified Zones (ADIZ) according to Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense .
Tuesday’s flights included fighter jets, bombers, and anti-submarine and early warning aircraft.
The previous highest fleet that breached Taiwan’s airspace included 25 planes on April 12.
Taiwan is a democracy of almost 24 million people located off the south-eastern coast of mainland China. Beijing claims full sovereignty over Taiwan even though the two sides have been governed separately for more than seven decades.
Taiwan has complained in recent months of repeated missions by China’s air force near the island, concentrated in the south-western part of its air defense zone near the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands
The US Federal Aviation Administration defines an ADIZ as “a designated area of airspace over land or water within which a country requires the immediate and positive identification, location and air traffic control of aircraft in the interest of the country’s national security.”
An ADIZ is not the same as sovereign airspace, which extends 12 nautical miles from a nation’s shore.
According to the Taiwanese ministry combat aircrafts were dispatched to intercept and warn away the Chinese aircraft, while missile systems were also deployed to monitor them.
China had previously described such missions as necessary to protect the country’s sovereignty and deal with “collusion” between Taipei and Washington, which have no formal diplomatic ties.