By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Apr. 13: Amid escalating tension between Taipei and Beijing, 25 PLA warplanes flew into into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ) on Monday, the largest incursion till date by China.
A formation of 14 Jian-16 fighter jets, 4 Jian-10s, four H-6K bombers, two Y-8 anti-submarine warfare planes and one KJ-500 airborne early warning and control aircraft – entered the island’s southwest zone on Monday, according to Taiwan’s defence ministry. In response, “[Taiwan’s] air force sent its air patrol force to shadow them, issued radio warnings and deployed missiles to monitor their movements,” the ministry said in a statement late Monday night.
Incursions by Chinese planes have taken place on an overwhelming frequency this year, with the Liberty Times in Taipei estimating that PLA planes have crossed into Taiwan’s airspace 86 days this year out of the 102 days of 2021 so far.
The development comes a day after United States warned Beijing that it is committed to safeguarding Taiwan’s defence under the Taiwan Relations Act.
“What is a real concern to us is increasingly aggressive actions by the government in Beijing directed at Taiwan,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“We have a serious commitment to Taiwan being able to defend itself. We have a serious commitment to peace and security in the Western Pacific. And in that context, it would be a serious mistake for anyone to try to change that status quo by force,” Blinken said.
Taiwan’s military capabilities dwarf in comparison to China’s although its ally in US has proved to be a deterrent for Beijing to swoop the self-governed and sovereign nation under its control. Chinese President Xi Jinping has said that he will not allow Taiwan to be independent and that military force is not ruled out to bring the island nation under Beijing’s rule.