China sent 18 fighter jets, including fighters and bombers, into Taiwan’s air defense zone on Friday, the island’s government said, in the second-biggest one-day raid this year.
Taiwan lives under the constant threat of invasion from Beijing, which sees the democratic and autonomous island as part of its territory that will one day be retaken, by force if necessary.
The last quarter of 2021 saw an increase in China’s incursions into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), with the largest single-day breach occurring on October 4 when 56 fighter jets entered the zone.
On Friday, 18 Chinese aircraft, including 12 J-11 and J-16 fighter jets as well as two H-6 bombers, crossed into ADIZ, the Taipei Defense Ministry said.
It was the second largest single-day sortie this year, after 39 fighter jets entered the area on January 23, according to a database compiled by AFP.
The ministry said it had scrambled its own aircraft to broadcast warnings and deployed air defense missile systems to track the planes.
Taiwan only started regularly publishing its data on air raids in September 2020.
October 2021 remains the busiest month on record, with 196 raids, 149 of which were carried out in just four days as Beijing celebrated its annual National Day.
China has increased pressure on Taiwan since Tsai Ing-wen was elected president in 2016, as it considers the island to be a sovereign nation and not part of Chinese territory.
Last year, Taiwan recorded 969 Chinese fighter jet sorties on its ADIZ, according to the AFP database, more than double the roughly 380 made in 2020.
The figure so far this year already exceeds 370 as of Friday.
ADIZ is not the same as Taiwan’s territorial airspace and includes a much larger area that overlaps with part of China’s own ADIZ.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)