Taiwan accused China of ‘bullying’ after Beijing sent 24 warplanes into its air defense identification zone (ADIZ), the third-largest incursion in the past two years of heightened tensions.
PLA aircrafts, bombers, fighter jets, anti-submarines and early warning control planes entered Taiwan’s ADIZ in two groups – 19 planes and a second fleet of 5 jets.
In response, the ministry said radio warnings were issued and air defense missile systems were deployed to monitor the activity.
The incursions did not violate Taiwan’s sovereign airspace, which extends 12 nautical miles from its coast.
ADIZ is 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.’
The air incursions came a day after Taiwan officially submitted an application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) free-trade pact.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs signaled its strong opposition to Taiwan’s application.
“We firmly oppose official exchanges between any country and the Taiwan region, and firmly oppose Taiwan’s accession to any agreement or organization of an official nature,” ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said.
Taiwan and mainland China have been governed separately since the end of a civil war more than seven decades ago, in which the defeated Nationalists fled to Taipei.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated in a statement on Thursday: ‘Taiwan is Taiwan, and it is not part of the People’s Republic of China. The People’s Republic of China has never ruled Taiwan for a single day.’
The island should be able to make its own choices when it comes to matters such as joining an international trade agreement, the ministry added.
“The Chinese government only wants to bully Taiwan in the international community and is the culprit for heightened tensions in cross-strait relations,” the statement said.
The highest number of daily air incursions reported by Taiwan was on June 15, when 28 Chinese military planes flew into Taiwan’s ADIZ. On April 12, 25 PLA planes entered Taiwan’s ADIZ in a single day.
But some sort of PLA incursion into Taiwan’s ADIZ has become an almost daily occurrence.
For instance, before Thursday’s flights, there were two incursions on Wednesday, one on Monday, four on Sunday and 10 last Friday, according to Taiwan’s Defense Ministry.