TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Two Chinese military aircraft entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Sunday morning (May 23), marking the 15th such intrusion this month.
According to the Ministry of National Defense (MND), a People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Shaanxi Y-8 electronic warfare plane and Shaanxi Y-8 anti-submarine warfare aircraft flew into the southwest corner of the ADIZ. In response, Taiwan sent aircraft, broadcast radio warnings, and deployed air defense missile systems to track the two planes.
Most of China’s intrusions into Taiwan’s identification zone this month have consisted of one to two slow-flying Y-8s. The exceptions were May 20, when two Xian JH-7 fighter bombers crossed the Taiwan Strait median line, and May 21, when two Shenyang J-16 fighter jets were tracked in the zone.
Since September of last year, Beijing has stepped up its gray zone tactics by frequently sending planes into the ADIZ, with most instances taking place in its southwest corner.
An ADIZ is an area that extends beyond a country’s air space where air traffic controllers ask incoming aircraft to identify themselves. Gray zone tactics are defined “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.”
According to MND data, Chinese military aircraft were tracked in the zone 22 times in April, 18 times in March, 17 times in February, and 27 times in January. Last year, they were observed 19 times in December, 22 times in November, and 22 times in October, including a drone on Oct. 22.
Chinese Y-8 ASW (MND photo)
Flight paths of Chinese planes on May 23 (MND image)