TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Chinese military aircraft entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), the Ministry of National Defense announced on its website Saturday (Jan. 2).
The latest incursion was the work of a People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Y-8 RECCE, a tactical reconnaissance aircraft. As on previous occasions, the plane approached southwest of Taiwan and was met by jets from the Taiwanese Air Force.
“Airborne alert sorties had been tasked, radio warnings issued and air defense missile systems deployed to monitor the activity,” the Ministry of National Defense said.
There were 91 days between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30, 2020 on which incursions had occurred, and a total of 380 PLAAF aircraft had violated Taiwan’s ADIZ during the year until late December, CNA reported.
The number and frequency of the incursions were the highest since the 1996 missile crisis, when China sought to influence Taiwan’s first direct presidential election by firing missiles close to the country, the ministry-linked Institute for National Defense and Security Research (INDSR, 國防安全研究院) said in its annual report.
The think tank said China frequently saw to enter the ADIZ from the southwest because the area was positioned between Taiwan and the South China Sea, and it would thus be able to interfere with communications between the main island and Taiwanese-held Taiping Island. Another reason was to research the possibility of sending submarines into the area and to try and intimidate the United States into staying away, CNA reported.
However, China had not expected that its actions would also play a role in persuading the U.S. to step up its supply of military equipment and offensive weapons systems to Taiwan, the INDSR report concluded.