TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A total of nine Chinese military aircraft entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on the day the country reshuffled its top military, intelligence and China policy officials, reports said Friday (Feb. 19).
The government changes included the announcement in the early evening of new heads for the Ministry of National Defense, the Mainland Affairs Council and the top intelligence agency, the National Security Bureau (NSB).
According to the defense ministry’s website, during the day, four J-16 strike fighters, four JH-7 fighter-bombers and one Y-9 EW electronic warfare plane entered the ADIZ sector off southwest Taiwan, the largest-scale incursion in February so far.
“Airborne alert sorties had been tasked, radio warnings issued and air defense missile systems deployed to monitor the activity,” the ministry noted.
For months, intrusions by Chinese planes have been an almost daily occurrence, even during the recent Lunar New Year holiday. While most often Y-8 anti-submarine and reconnaissance aircraft were involved. Friday’s appearance of Xi’an JH-7 fighter-bombers, also known as “Flying Leopards,” was a rare occurrence, cable TV station TVBS reported.