China sends 38 fighter jets to the skies near Taiwan

The People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) plane arrived in two waves, the defense ministry said.

Twenty-five PLA fighter jets entered the southwestern corner of the ADIZ during the day, and another 13 planes entered the southwestern ADIZ of the island on Friday evening, the ministry said. in a press release.

While the Chinese planes of the afternoon exit remained in the far southwest of the ADIZ, the planes involved in the evening flight flew over the defense zone and clung to the north. is before turning around and heading back to mainland China, the Defense Ministry said. .

The 25 PLA planes involved in the daytime incursion included 18 J-16 fighters, four Su-30 fighters, two H-6 bombers and a Y-8 anti-submarine warfare aircraft, according to the ministry of defense.

The last flight included 10 J-16s, two H-6s and a KJ-500 airborne early warning aircraft, he added.

The incursions did not violate Taiwan’s sovereign airspace, which stretches 12 nautical miles from its coast. The United States Federal Aviation Administration defines an ADIZ as “a designated area of ​​airspace above land or water in which a country requires immediate and positive identification, location and traffic control. of aircraft in the interest of the national security of the country ”.

The previous one-day record for PLA flights to Taiwan’s ADIZ was in June, when 28 Chinese military planes entered.

Friday’s forays came as Beijing celebrates 72 years since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

“This is how the PLA chooses to celebrate its national day – military coercion,” said Drew Thompson, former head of the US Department of Defense and visiting senior researcher at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. National University of Singapore. on Twitter.

“PLAAF sorties are quite common at this point, but the escalation of bomber flights on a major public holiday in the PRC (People’s Republic of China) underscores that this is a political war and d ‘part of a massive coercion campaign,’ Thompson told CNN.

Chinese President Xi Jinping refused to exclude military force to capture Taiwan if necessary.

In the past, analysts have said that PLA flights likely served several purposes for China, both demonstrating the strength of the PLA to a domestic audience and giving the Chinese the intelligence and military skills they needed. would need in any potential conflict involving Taiwan.

“Xi Jinping asked the PLA to improve its readiness and prepare for combat under“ realistic combat conditions ”. Therefore, it is not surprising that the PLA continues to fly into Taiwan’s ADIZ as part of realistic armed conflict training and preparation, ”senior analyst Derek Grossman told CNN on Saturday. defense at the RAND Corporation policy think tank.
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Taiwan and mainland China have been ruled separately since a civil war ended more than seven decades ago, in which defeated nationalists fled to Taipei.

However, Beijing sees Taiwan as an inseparable part of its territory, even though the Chinese Communist Party has never ruled the democratic island of about 24 million people.

Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry reiterated the point last week after Beijing sent a total of 24 fighter jets to the island’s ADIZ in a single day.

“Taiwan is Taiwan and is not part of the People’s Republic of China. The People’s Republic of China has never ruled Taiwan for a single day,” a statement from the Taiwanese Foreign Ministry said.

Last Thursday, China’s Taiwan Affairs Bureau issued a statement criticizing Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu for “frantically speaking on Taiwan independence” on the international stage.

“Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory and has never been a country,” the statement said. “We tell Joseph Wu and his friends that unification is the right way and that ‘Taiwan independence’ is a dead end.”

“Following the trend of national rejuvenation and unification, various forces of” Taiwan independence “are like grasshoppers after the fall.

In response, the Taiwanese Mainland Council retaliated and accused Beijing of using “extremely contemptible language” to slander and insult its foreign minister.

And on Saturday, Wu himself responded on Twitter.

“October 1 was not a good day. The #PLAAF flew 38 fighter jets in #Taiwan’s ADIZ, making it the most daily sorties ever recorded. Threatening? Of course. C It’s strange that the #RPC doesn’t bother with bogus excuses anymore, ”Wu tweeted on behalf of the Taiwanese Foreign Ministry.

Despite the increase in PLA flights and harsh rhetoric from Taiwan, RAND analyst Grossman doesn’t think the fight is imminent.

“I don’t think there is a high or even a medium likelihood of a Chinese attack or invasion of Taiwan,” he told CNN.

“The PLA still has many vulnerabilities, especially in the face of almost certain intervention by the United States with possibly – probably? – Japanese and Australian support,” he added. “China understands the serious drawbacks of a failed attack or invasion of Taiwan and will likely continue to bide its time.”

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