TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A total of 10 Chinese military planes flew into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Monday (March 29), marking the 17th such incursion this month.
Four People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Shenyang J-16 fighter planes, four Chengdu J-10 fighter jets, and one Shaanxi KJ-500 early warning and control aircraft entered the southwest corner of the ADIZ, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND). In addition, a Shaanxi Y-8 anti-submarine warfare plane buzzed the southwest and southeast corners of the identification zone.
In response, Taiwan scrambled planes, issued radio warnings, and deployed air defense missile systems to track the PLAAF planes. The intrusion came on the same day that the Taiwanese Air Force announced it would no longer scramble planes every time Chinese military aircraft fly into the ADIZ.
Deputy Minister of National Defense Chang Che-ping (張哲平) told the legislature that Taiwan’s initial strategy had been to send jets each time PLAAF planes entered the zone. That strategy was then changed to send slower planes if China does too.
Chang said the strategy will now be to largely use land-based missile systems to track the Chinese planes instead. “We are considering the war of attrition issue,” Reuters cited him as saying.
Since last September, Beijing has stepped up its gray-zone tactics by regularly sending aircraft into Taiwan’s ADIZ, with most instances occurring in the southwest corner of the zone and usually consisting of one to three slow-flying turboprop planes. An ADIZ is an area that extends beyond a country’s air space where air traffic controllers ask incoming airplanes to identify themselves.
Gray zone tactics are defined as “as an effort or series of efforts beyond steady-state deterrence and assurance that attempts to achieve one’s security objectives without resort to direct and sizable use of force.” Flights into the ADIZ, amphibious landing exercises, cyberattacks, naval patrols, and diplomatic isolation have all been used by the Chinese in an attempt to wear down Taiwan’s resolve.
According to MND data, Chinese planes were tracked in Taiwan’s identification zone 17 times in February, 27 times in January, 19 in December, 22 times in November, and 22 times in October, including a drone on Oct. 22.
Chinese J-10 (MND photo)
Chinese KJ-500 (MND photo)
Chinese Y-8 ASW (MND photo)
Flight paths of Chinese planes on March 29 (MND image)