TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A record 68 Chinese military aircraft, plus 13 naval vessels, on Friday (Aug. 5) entered Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ), with many also crossing Taiwan's median line.
The Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced at 5 p.m. that 68 People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) military aircraft and 13 People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) warships encroached on Taiwan's ADIZ. In addition, many of these aircraft and vessels crossed the median line and "seriously deteriorated the current situation in the Taiwan Strait," read the MND statement.
There were 49 aircraft that were detected to the east of the median line, including: Seven Chengdu J-10 fighter planes, six Shenyang J-11 fighter jets, 10 Shenyang J-16 fighter planes, 24 Sukhoi Su-30 jet fighters, one Shaanxi Y-8 electronic warfare plane, and Shaanxi Y-8 anti-submarine warfare plane. Of these, the six J-11 fighter jets and the 24 Su-30 fighters directly crossed over the median line.
The MND has yet to release information on the types of aircraft that entered areas of the ADIZ not near the median line.
The ministry said the armed forces utilized joint intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance methods to become fully aware of the dynamics at sea and in the air. In addition to broadcasting warnings to leave Taiwan's ADIZ, the military employed aerial reconnaissance, combat air patrol, naval vessels, and shore-based missile systems in response.
Only aircraft that were near median line are pictured in this map. (MND image)
The ministry condemned the PLA's "deliberate overstepping of the median line of the strait and intruding into the sea and airspace surrounding Taiwan." The MND said the armed forces would "act resolutely to safeguard national security and ensure that democracy and freedom are not threatened."
The 68 PLAAF military aircraft that infringed on Taiwan's ADIZ is a new all-time record for the most Chinese military planes seen in the zone in one day. The previous single-day record was 56, which was set on Oct. 4, 2021.
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, 2020, Beijing unilaterally denied the existence of the median line in the Taiwan Strait.
In the fall of 2020, 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 PLA forces have crossed the median line, but it is still a relatively rare occurrence.