While the world is distracted by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, China has its eyes on Taiwan and on Monday, the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) sent 13 aircraft into Taiwanese air defense identification zone (ADIZ).
Taiwan had to scramble to send out fighter jets of their own to deter and “drive away” the Chinese aircraft, according to a statement released by Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense.
The ministry said on March 14, that seven Chinese PLAAF aircraft, including a “J-10 and five J-16 fighters as well as one Y-8 electronic warfare aircraft… flew over an area to the northeast of the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands at the top end of the South China Sea” the statement said.
Taiwan sent air forces to “monitor the activities” of the PLAAF in response to the Chinese aircraft, and the Ministry confirmed they had sent “radio warnings” in order to “drive [the Chinese] away” and deployed “air defense missile systems” as a precautionary move.
An ADIZ is defined as “an area of airspace over land or water in which the ready identification, location, and control of all aircraft… is required in the interest of national security.” According to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration definition.
China’s PLAAF regularly orders aircraft into Taiwan’s ADIZ to intimidate Taiwan militarily. China considers Taiwan — an independent island nation located off China’s southeastern coast — to be a province of China and has vowed to “reunify” the island with China.
Reuters reported that the number of PLAAF breaching Taiwan’s ADIZ “was well off the last large-scale incursion, 39 Chinese aircraft on Jan. 23, and since then, such fly-bys have been sporadic with far fewer aircraft.”
According to a Taiwan News report on March 11, the Chinese PLAAF has intruded on Taiwan’s ADIZ multiple times.
“One People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Shaanxi Y-8 electronic intelligence plane flew into the southwest corner of Taiwan’s ADIZ,” adding that “So far this month, 17 Chinese military aircraft have been tracked in Taiwan’s identification zone, including nine fighter jets, six spotter planes, and two helicopters.”
On May 13, 2021, Taiwan News had reported the same intrusions by the CCP.
“Chinese planes were tracked in Taiwan’s identification zone 22 times in April, 18 times in March, 17 times in February, and 27 times in January,” Taiwan News said at the time.
In September 2021, the Chinese Communist Party sent aircraft into Taiwan’s ADIZ and Taiwan News reported at the time that it was “the third consecutive day that the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) had dispatched two or more aircraft into the zone, with four planes deployed on both Friday and Saturday (Sept. 3-4).”
It looks as though China will be looking to take Taiwan any day. As the relationships between the United States, Russia and other NATO countries continue to sour, China seems to be moving itself into a position of power.