TAIPEI, Dec 22 (Reuters) – Taiwan scrambled combat jets to warn away 39 Chinese aircraft that entered its southeastern air defence zone, the island’s defence ministry said on Thursday.
Taiwan has complained of repeated missions by the Chinese air force over the last two years, often in southern areas of its air defence identification zone, or ADIZ.
Thursday’s incursion included 21 fighters and four H-6 bombers, as well as early warning, antisubmarine and aerial refuelling aircraft, Taiwan’s defence ministry said in a report detailing Chinese activities in its ADIZ over the last 24 hours.
Many of the aircraft flew over a waterway known as the Bashi Channel to an area off the island’s southeastern coast, according to a map provided by the ministry. Three Chinese navy ships were also detected near Taiwan, the ministry said.
Taiwan sent unspecified combat aircraft to warn away the Chinese planes, while missile systems monitored their flight, the ministry said, using standard wording for its response.
Separate Taiwan government notices have said the defence ministry’s research and development arm, the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, is holding a missile firing drill this week on the island’s southeastern coast.
China, which claims Taiwan as its own, has stepped up pressure in recent years on the self-governed island to accept Beijing’s rule. Taiwan’s government rejects the Chinese claims and says it wants peace but will defend itself if attacked.