TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Two dozen Chinese fighter jets, bombers, and surveillance aircraft intruded into Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Thursday (Sept. 23), a day after news broke that Taiwan had submitted an application to take part in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade group.
At 4:30 p.m. on Thursday afternoon, Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) reported that 19 People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) aircraft, including 12 Shenyang J-16 fighter jets, two Shaanxi Y-8 anti-submarine warfare (Y-8 ASW) planes, two Xian H-6 bombers, one Shaanxi Y-8 electronic warfare aircraft (Y-8 EW), and two Shenyang J-11 fighter jets, had penetrated into the southwestern corner of the ADIZ.
Then in a second incident, the MND at 7:15 p.m. announced that five additional Chinese military planes had entered the southwest corner of Taiwan's ADIZ. This time, two Shenyang J-16 fighter jets, one Shaanxi KJ-500 airborne early warning and control aircraft (KJ-500 AEW&C), and two Shenyang J-11 fighters were spotted.
In both instances, Taiwan's Air Force responded by scrambling fighter jets, broadcasting radio warnings, and tracking the aircraft with land-based anti-aircraft missiles.
The aggressive action by China comes a day after Taiwan filed a formal application to take part in the CPTPP. Some analysts are speculating that the unusually large number of military aircraft could be an attempt by Beijing to intimidate Taiwan into thinking twice about joining the trade group or to bully members to reject Taiwan's application.
The combined 24 aircraft witnessed on Thursday marked the third-largest single-day intrusion of PLAAF planes into Taiwan's ADIZ. The largest incursion by Chinese military aircraft into Taiwan's ADIZ on record occurred on June 15, when a total of 28 military aircraft entered the southern end of the ADIZ, including one Shaanxi Y-8 anti-submarine warfare plane, four Xian H-6 bombers, one Shaanxi Y-8 electronic warfare aircraft, two Shaanxi KJ-500 airborne early warning and control aircraft, 14 Shenyang J-16 fighter jets, and six Shenyang J-11 fighter jets.