TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Seven Chinese military aircraft flew into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Thursday morning (June 17), marking the sixth intrusion this month.
Two People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Shenyang J-16 fighter jets, four Chengdu J-7 fighter planes, and one Shaanxi Y-8 electronic warfare aircraft carried out exercises in the southwestern section of Taiwan’s ADIZ, according to the Ministry of National Defense (MND). In response, Taiwan sent aircraft, broadcast radio warnings, and deployed air defense missile systems to track the PLAAF planes.
Chinese planes have been tracked in Taiwan’s identification zone so far this month on June 3, 4, 14, 15, 16, and 17. The June 15 incursion, the biggest so far this year, saw 28 military planes carry out drills in the southern sector of Taiwan’s ADIZ.
Since last September, Beijing has dialed up its gray zone tactics by frequently sending planes into Taiwan’s ADIZ, with most instances taking place in the southwest corner of the zone.
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 aircraft were tracked in Taiwan’s identification zone 18 times in May, 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.
Chinese J-7 fighter plane (MND photo)
Chinese Y-8 EW (MND photo)
Flight path of Chinese planes on June 17 (MND image)