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14 Mar, 2022 15:33

Taiwan claims Chinese Air Force planes entered its defense zone

The island’s jets were scrambled to “warn” Beijing’s aircraft away
Taiwan claims Chinese Air Force planes entered its defense zone

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army sent 13 planes to the Taiwanese coast on Monday, triggering a response from the island’s air force, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said. The maneuver was reportedly part of a two-week reservist exercise.

According to the ministry, the aircraft group included seven Chinese J-10 and five J-16 fighters plus a Y-8 electronic warfare plane, all flying over an area northeast of the Pratas Islands, which Taiwan considers part of its territory.

Taiwanese jets were scrambled to “warn” the Chinese planes away, while air defense missiles were rolled out to “monitor the activities” of the aircraft.

Beijing did not immediately react to Taipei’s claims.

China continues to claim Taiwan as its own territory, while the island’s leaders are concerned that Russia’s actions in Ukraine could prompt Beijing to attempt a similar move. Tension has increased in the area over the past two years, with the Taiwan Strait now somewhat regularly traveled by American ships, which insist they are merely protecting ‘freedom of navigation’.

However, the Taiwanese government insists there have been no “unusual” Chinese movements since the start of Russia’s offensive in Ukraine.

The island’s air force was forced to temporarily ground its fleet of Mirage 2000 fighter jets on Monday after one fell into the sea – the second such aircraft loss in three months, according to Reuters.