On Monday Taiwan scrambled fighter jets to warn away a massive grouping of Chinese PLA aircraft which breached the island's Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ)
While such threatening PLA maneuvers in airspace near Taiwan have lately been a frequent occurrence, this fresh incident included a reported 30 Chinese aircraft at once, which is rare for a single occurrence.
According to a Bloomberg review, Monday's breach of the southwest ADIZ may have been among the top three single largest breaches on record.
"The PLA aircraft conducted 56 flights near Taiwan on Oct. 4 2021, the highest number on record; the highest number in 2022 was 39 on Jan. 23," Bloomberg notes.
Beijing has sent jets near the island as a 'warning' to Taipei pro-independence leaders almost weekly for the past two years.
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Like prior ones, this latest breach happened near the disputed Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands.
According to further details from Taiwan's defense ministry:
The latest Chinese mission included 22 fighters, as well as electronic warfare, early warning and antisubmarine aircraft, the Taiwan ministry said.
The aircraft flew in an area to the northeast of the Pratas, according to a map the ministry provided, though far from Taiwan itself.
Taiwan sent combat aircraft to warn away the Chinese aircraft, while missile systems were deployed to monitor them, the ministry said.
Typically long-range bombers are also deployed, but these seem to have been absent in this latest incursion. Beijing, however, sees the flights as being conducted purely in international airspace or even it's own airspace – as the area in question is just off the Chinese mainland's coast.
"This is a solemn warning against recent collusion between the United States and Taiwan," says a spokesman for the Chinese People's Liberation Army's Eastern Theatre Command. https://t.co/r4NgG7AkNo
— Rappler (@rapplerdotcom) May 25, 2022
Days ago a statement from the PLA's Eastern Command denounced "collusion" between Taiwan and the United States. It issued a "solemn warning" while also launching snap war drills near the island.
This after President Joe Biden in deeply provocative remarks pledged the US would "defend" Taiwan if under attack by Chinese forces; however, the White House was quick to follow by saying there's been no change in the One China policy or its approach of "strategic ambiguity".