Chine flew dozens of military aircraft around Taiwan on Sunday and Monday as U.S. and Japanese warships conducted joint naval drills in the nearby Phillippine Sea.
According to the Ministry of National Defense for the Republic of China, the formal name of the Taiwanese government, “39 [Chinese People’s Liberation Army] aircrafts (Y-9 EW*2, J-10*10, J-16*24, Y-8 ELINT*2, and H-6*1) entered #Taiwan’s southwest ADIZ on January 23, 2022. Please check our official website for more information.”
The Chinese military flight included 34 J-10 and J-16 fighter jets, a nuclear-capable H-6 bomber, two Y-9 electronic warfare aircraft and two Y-8 electronic intelligence-gathering aircraft.
The 39 Chinese warplanes entered Taiwan’s air-defense identification zone (ADIZ), prompting Taiwan’s military to activate missile defenses, issue radio warnings and deploy its own aircraft.
Taiwan governs itself as an independent nation, but China considers the island a part of its territory and has repeatedly alluded to reunifying with the island under mainland China’s governance.
China has flown military aircraft around Taiwan on a near-daily basis for more than a year, but the 39 aircraft it deployed on Sunday represents the largest Chinese military flight around the island so far this year.
China often deploys particularly large military flights around Taiwan in response to spikes in tensions between the U.S., China and Taiwan or in response to U.S. military activities in the nearby Philippine and South China Seas.
This particularly noteworthy PLA deployment came a day after U.S. and Japanese warships began naval drills in the Philippine Sea. The U.S.-Japanese naval drills, saw ships and aircraft from two U.S. carrier strike groups and from Japan’s Maritime Self Defense Force
“Operations in the #PhilippineSea, Jan. 22, w/ships & aircraft from #USSCarlVinson & #USSAbrahamLincoln Carrier Strike Groups, Carrier Air Wings 9 & 2, #USSAmerica & #USSEssex Amphibious Ready Groups joined by elements from the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force,” the U.S. Navy tweeted Sunday. “#NavyPartnerships supporting a #FreeandOpenIndoPacific.”
In a statement provided to CNN, the U.S. Navy said the U.S. and Japanese warships were “conducting training to preserve and protect a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”
President Joe Biden met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Friday, during which they shared concerns about China “intimidating neighbors.”
On Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lijian Zhao criticized Biden’s meeting with the Japanese prime minister.
“The US and Japanese leaders’ meeting has struck up the same old tune on China-related issues,” Zhao said. “They’ve once again wantonly discredited and attacked China and grossly interfered in China’s internal affairs, seriously violating international law and basic norms governing international relations.”
On Monday, China sent another 13 military aircraft towards Taiwan’s ADIZ. including 10 J-16 fighter jets, two H-6 bombers and a Y-8 anti-submarine warfare aircraft.