Taiwan reports 38 Chinese planes fly over its air space

Taiwan reports largest ever incursion as 38 Chinese planes fly over air space
A Chinese H-6 bomber (bottom) flying over the Bashi Channel near Taiwan as a Taiwanese F-16 (top) approaches. Source: Taiwan Ministry Of National Defense Handout/EPA
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Daily US Times: Taiwan reports the largest ever incursion by the Chinese air force into its air defence zone. Taiwan’s defence minister said 38 aircraft, nuclear-capable H-6 bombers, flying in two waves entered its air space as Beijing marked the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

Taiwan has complained for a year or more of repeated air space violation by Chinese air force near the democratically governed island, often in the south-western part of the island’s air defence zone close to the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands.

On Friday, the Taiwan defence ministry reported that its fighters had scrambled against four Su-30 and 18 J-16 fighter jets plus two nuclear-capable H-6 bombers and an anti-submarine aircraft.

The ministry said in the early hours of Saturday that a further 13 Chinese aircraft were involved in a mission on Friday night – 2 H-6s, 10 J-16s and an early warning aircraft.

The ministry said Taiwan sent combat aircraft to warn the Chinese fighter jets, while missile systems were deployed to monitor them.

According to a map issued by the ministry, the first batch of Chinese jets all flew in an area close to the Pratas Islands, with the two bombers flying closest to the atoll.

The map says the second group of Chinese planes flew down into the Bashi Channel that separates Taiwan from the Philippines, a key waterway that links the Pacific with the disputed South China Sea.

China has not commented on its activities. Beijing has previously said such flights were to protect China’s sovereignty and aimed at “collusion” between Taiwan and the US, the island’s most important international backer.

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