Taipei's Defense Ministry has confirmed that ten Chinese military aircraft breached Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Friday, which comes at the end of a week that Taiwan's military conducted extensive drills simulating a Chinese attack on the island.
The defense ministry identified two Y-8 fighters, a pair of J-11s, as well as six J-16 jets which made the incursion. According to Bloomberg, citing a ministry statement, "Taiwanese patrol issued radio warnings and deployed air defense missile systems to monitor the activity."
Such incursions appear to be coming more frequently in the past weeks, and Beijing likely is sending a 'message' to the self-declared autonomous island following the major anti-China military exercises. Friday's incursion marks the 15th such breach so far this month alone, which means the hostile flights have been made on a daily basis.
As The Guardian detailed, the war drills simulated a scenario in which China attacks its vulnerable airbases and airports first. The exercise was geared toward a response after which the airbases were already crippled:
Taiwanese fighter jets landed on a makeshift runway on a road on Wednesday as annual drills reached their peak, practising skills that would be needed in the event of an attack by China.
In exercises overseen by President Tsai Ing-wen, three aircraft – an F-16, French-made Mirage and a Ching-kuo Indigenous Defence Fighter plus an E-2 Hawk-Eye early warning aircraft – landed in rural southern Pingtung county on a road specially designed to be straight and flat for rapid conversion into a runway.
All of this also comes after at the start the week China furiously lashed out over reports the US is "seriously considering" allowing the Taiwanese government to rename its representative office in Washington to include the word "Taiwan".
Taipei also just announced approval of $9 billion more in military spending in order to counter threats from the mainland. Biden has signaled he plans to continue to Trump policy of large weapons transfers to the island.
Taiwan's air force scrambled on Friday to warn away 10 Chinese aircraft that entered its air defense zone, Taiwan's defense ministry said, the day after the island announced a $9 billion boost to military spending to counter the threat from Chinahttps://t.co/6ml01XMtXc— Peter Martin (@PeterMartin_PCM) September 17, 2021
A follow-up state-run Global Times op-ed published Monday then made some serious threats in terms of what would happen if Washington were to allow the name change. GT often articulates the current thinking of top Communist Party officials, and it made the following threats:
Sending PLA fighter jets over the island of Taiwan is a step we must take. The move will pose a fundamental warning to the Taiwan authorities and bring about reconstruction of the situation across the Taiwan Straits. It will be a clear declaration of China's sovereignty over Taiwan island, and create unprecedented conditions for us to further implement this sovereignty.
The "airspace" over the Taiwan island belongs to the airspace of China. The so-called middle line of the Taiwan Straits has never been recognized by the Chinese mainland. Therefore, there is sufficient legal basis for the PLA fighter jets to fly over the island.
This is likely to in turn ensure the US Navy keeps up its presence in the region, with it's own provocative sail throughs of the contested Taiwan Strait recently becoming somewhat "routine" - though China sees it as anything but.