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Taiwan reports more than 600 Chinese military sorties so far this year

Spike in ADIZ intrusions part of Beiing's gray zone tactics to weaken Taiwan's air defense

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Xian H-6k bombers lined up at PLAAF airbase. (mod.gov.cn photo) 

Xian H-6k bombers lined up at PLAAF airbase. (mod.gov.cn photo) 

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of National Defense (MND) has recorded more than 600 Chinese military sorties into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) so far this year.

According to an MND report submitted to the Legislative Yuan on Tuesday (Oct. 5), Chinese military aircraft started flying into Taiwan’s ADIZ in March 2019, when incursions totaled 10, Liberty Times reported.

Last year, there were 380 incursions in the southwest corner of Taiwan’s ADIZ. Meanwhile, as of October 2021, there have been more than 600 intrusions, which have seriously impacted Taiwan’s air defense security, the MND said.

In one year, Chinese military sorties have increased more than 50%. These missions are part of China’s expansion of military activities and gray zone operations in an attempt to thin out Taiwan’s naval and air forces.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies defines gray zone tactics “as an effort or series of efforts beyond steady-state deterrence and assurance that attempt to achieve one’s security objectives without resort to direct and sizable use of force.”

On Monday, the MND announced the largest-ever single-day incursion by the People's Liberation Army Air Force. The aircraft included 34 Shenyang J-16 fighter jets, two SU-30 fighter jets, two Shaanxi Y-8 anti-submarine warfare planes, two KJ-500 airborne early warning and control aircraft, and 12 Xian H-6 bombers.

According to a second MND report published that evening, four additional J-16 fighter jets entered the ADIZ, raising the total for Monday to 56 military aircraft.