TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Four Chinese fighter jets entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Thursday (Oct. 21) during the day, marking the 12th intrusion this month.
Two People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Shenyang J-16 fighter jets and two Shenyang J-11 fighter planes flew into the southwestern corner of Taiwan’s ADIZ, according to the Ministry of National Defense (MND). Taiwan in response sent aircraft, in addition to broadcasting radio warnings and deploying missile systems to track the PLA planes.
After China’s large show of aerial force at the beginning of the month (Oct. 1-4) where it sent 149 military planes into Taiwan’s identification zone, the last eight intrusions have seen a reduction in the number of aircraft.
Since September of last year, China has increased its use of gray zone tactics by routinely sending aircraft into Taiwan’s ADIZ, with most occurrences taking place in the southwest corner of the zone.
An ADIZ is an area that extends beyond a country’s airspace 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 ADIZ 27 times in September, 14 times in August, 14 times in July, 10 times in June, 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-16 fighter plane. (MND photo)
Flight path of Chinese planes on Oct. 21. (MND image)