Published 5:00 AM EDT, Mon September 18, 2023
Taiwan’s defense ministry has urged Beijing to stop its “persistent military harassment,” after it detected more than 100 Chinese warplanes close to the island in a 24-hour span between Sunday and Monday.
The number of warplanes recorded posed “severe challenges to the Taiwan Strait and regional safety,” the ministry said in a statement.
According to a flight map provided by the ministry, 40 of the 103 Chinese warplanes crossed the median line on the Taiwan Strait and entered Taiwan’s self-declared air defense identification zone (ADIZ).
Those 40 incursions were made by 10 Su-30 fighter jets, 12 J-10 fighter jets, four J-11 fighter jets, 10 J-16 fighter jets, two Y-20 aerial refueling aircraft, and two KJ-500 airborne early warning and control planes.
An ADIZ is unilaterally imposed and distinct from sovereign airspace, which is defined under international law as extending 12 nautical miles from a territory’s shoreline. No Chinese warplanes were spotted entering Taiwan’s sovereign airspace.
China’s ruling Communist Party views Taiwan – a democratically governed island of 24 million – as part of its territory, despite having never controlled it.
The Communist Party has long vowed that the island must be “unified” with the Chinese mainland, by force if necessary, while the Taiwanese authorities strongly reject China’s territorial claims over it.
Taiwan’s defense ministry said it is “training at all times” to elevate its combat capabilities, adding that peace on the Taiwan Strait is key to maintaining the Indo-Pacific region’s stability and prosperity.
“The Communist military’s persistent military harassment can easily result in a sharp increase in tensions and worsen regional security. We call on the Beijing authorities to take up its responsibility and immediately stop this kind of destructive, unilateral action,” the ministry added.
The highest record of Chinese warplanes that entered Taiwan’s ADIZ within 24 hours was reported in October 2021, when 56 planes made the incursion in one day.