China has repeatedly deployed aircraft into the area as part of “grey zone” warfare with the island country. Taiwanese officials fear that China executes these maneuvers to test Taiwan’s response and wear out its forces with repeated scrambles.
Taiwan claimed that around 150 aircraft from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have entered its air defense identification zone (ADIZ) since Oct. 1, Reuters reported.
The latest excursion included 18 fighter jets, five nuclear-capable H-6 bombers and a Y-20 aerial refueling jet. The squadron flew south of Taiwan into the Bashi channel separating it from the Philippines before returning to China.
The Taiwanese defense ministry charted the flight and showed how close it flew into the ADIZ.
On Friday, a PLA spokesperson said the military carried out “naval and air force combat readiness patrol in the direction of the Taiwan Strait.”
The maneuver follows a U.S. Congressional delegation visit to the island – the second this month in support of Taiwan, the National Review reported.
Representatives Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., Nancy Mace, R-S.C., Mark Takano D-Calif., Sara Jacobs, D-Calif., and Colin Allred, D-Texas visited the island at the same time that the PLA held a three-day military conference attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping. The PRC leader stressed the need for “military cultivation” to support and lead progress in strengthening the armed forces.
Slotkin claimed on Twitter that the Chinese Embassy messaged her office about the trip and urged her to call off the trip.
President Tsai Ing-wen pledged that her country “will continue to step up cooperation with the United States in order to uphold our shared values of freedom and democracy and to ensure peace and stability in the region.”