TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) reported that 27 Chinese warplanes had intruded on Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ), including 22 that had breached the median line on Wednesday (Aug. 3) the same day as U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's trip to Taiwan.
At 9:15 p.m., the MND announced that 27 People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) military aircraft had infringed on Taiwan's ADIZ. The aircraft were identified as six Shenyang J-11 fighter jets, five Shenyang J-16 fighter planes, and 16 Sukhoi Su-30 jet fighters.
The five J-16 fighter jets encroached on the southwest corner of the ADIZ near the median line, while the six J-11 fighters and 16 Su-30 fighters crossed over the median line, briefly flew parallel with the line while on the Taiwan side before re-entering the Chinese side.
The MND said that it responded by scrambling combat patrol aircraft, issuing radio warnings, and deploying air defense missile systems.
The intrusions occurred on Pelosi's last day in Taiwan where she met with members of the Legislative Yuan, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), TSMC executives, and human rights activists. The increased number of Chinese military aircraft entering deeper areas of the ADIZ and the four days of PLA live-fire drills scheduled to start on Thursday (Aug. 4) are all believed to be Beijing's response to Pelosi's visit.
Since 1955, there has been a tacit agreement between China and Taiwan not to cross the median line, also known as the Davis Line. However, on Sept. 21 of 2020, Beijing suddenly denied the existence of the median line in the Taiwan Strait.
In the fall of 2020, People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) aircraft crossed the median line on a few occasions and entered Taiwan's ADIZ. Over the past two years, there have been other incidents in which PLAAF aircraft have crossed the median line, but it is still a relatively rare occurrence.
Map shows flight paths of 27 PLAAF fighter jets on Wednesday. (MND image)