China sends 56 jets into Taiwan defence zone in another record incursion

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says it is concerned by China’s incursions into Taiwan’s air defence zone.

An undated handout photo made available by the Taiwan Ministry of National Defense on 4 October 2021 shows a Chinese PLA Xian H-6 jet bomber

An undated handout photo made available by the Taiwan Ministry of National Defense on 4 October 2021 shows a Chinese PLA Xian H-6 jet bomber Source: TAIWAN DEFENSE MINISTRY

Taiwan has urged China to stop "irresponsible provocative actions" after 56 Chinese warplanes crossed into its air defence zone on Monday in yet another record incursion.

The defence ministry said it scrambled aircraft to broadcast warnings after 36 fighter jets, 12 H-6 nuclear-capable bombers and four other planes entered its southwest air defence identification zone (ADIZ).

Four more fighters entered the zone in a night sortie, bringing the total to 56 planes, the ministry added.

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), Taiwan's top China policy-making body, accused Beijing of "seriously damaging the status quo of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait" with its recent string of incursions.  

"We demand the Beijing authorities immediately stop its non-peaceful and irresponsible provocative actions," MAC spokesman Chiu Chui-cheng said in a statement.

"China is the culprit for causing tensions between the two sides of the (Taiwan) Strait and it has further threatened regional security and order," he added, saying Taiwan "will never compromise and yield" to threats. 

The ADIZ is not the same as Taiwan's territorial airspace but includes a far greater area that overlaps with part of China's own air defence identification zone and even includes some of the mainland.

Self-ruled democratic Taiwan lives under the constant threat of invasion by China, which views the island as its territory and has vowed to one day seize it, by force if necessary.

In the last two years, Beijing has begun sending large sorties into Taiwan's defence zone to signal dissatisfaction at key moments - and to keep Taipei's ageing fighter fleet regularly stressed.

Nearly 150 Chinese warplanes had breached Taiwan's ADIZ since Friday when Beijing marked its National Day with its then-biggest aerial show of force, buzzing the island with 38 planes.

That was followed by another incursion by 39 planes on Saturday, sparking criticism from Washington.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price reiterated Monday that the United States was "very concerned" by the "provocative" moves by Beijing.

"This activity is destabilising, it risks miscalculation and it undermines regional peace and security," Price told reporters.

"We strongly urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic and economic pressure and coercion against Taiwan," he said, calling US commitment to the island "rock-solid".

Also on Monday, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said was “concerned by China’s increased air incursions into Taiwan’s air defence zone over the past week”. 

“Resolution of differences over Taiwan and other regional issues must be achieved peacefully through dialogue and without the threat or use of force or coercion,” a spokesperson told SBS News.

“Our goal is to maintain an Indo-Pacific region that is secure, prosperous and based on the rule of law.”

Published 5 October 2021 at 9:37am
Source: AFP - SBS