Chinese warplanes conduct first-ever night flights near Taiwan

Ministry of National Defense spotted Chinese early warning aircraft, fighter jets Monday evening

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File photo of Chinese J-11 jets 

File photo of Chinese J-11 jets  (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Chinese fighter jets and early warning aircraft were, for the first time ever, seen flying a night mission near Taiwan’s airspace on Monday (March 16), according to the Ministry of National Defense.

The number of the planes was not clear, but they included KJ-500 early warning planes and J-11 jets, CNA reported. The aircraft were first spotted off Taiwan’s southwest coast at around 7 p.m. Monday evening, flying close to the island’s air defense identification zone.

The Air Force scrambled F-16s and Indigenous Defense Fighters, which issued radio warnings to the Chinese jets, causing them to leave the area, the ministry said.

The military noted that while Chinese warplanes often approach Taiwan from any side, this was the first time such an incident occurred outside daylight hours, according to its records.

On Feb. 28, during a Taiwanese public holiday, a Chinese Xi’an H-6 strategic bomber was seen close to the island’s southwest coast.