Taiwan has once again scrambled jets after a large group of Chinese military aircraft breached its air defense zone on two separate occasions on Thursday. The breaches which have of late been coming almost daily, which Taipei sees as unmistakable as acts of aggression and as "warnings" against its pro-democracy relationship with the US, follow recent Chinese state media threats that the PLA military could soon fly jets and bombers directly over the island.
Thursday's fresh incidents involved 19 Chinese aircraft, including 12 J-16 fighters and two nuclear-capable H-6 bombers, according to Taiwan's defense ministry. Specifically the morning breach occurred in the same zone as many others of late - the southwest part of Taiwan’s ADIZ. Later in the afternoon the defense ministry cited another incursion involving five more PLA jets, which totals an unusually large 24 Chinese aircraft for the day.
A prior large incursion occurred days ago, on Friday, and involved 10 total Chinese aircraft, including six J-16 and two J-11 fighters, as well as an anti-submarine plane and a reconnaissance aircraft.
These latest acts appear to be connected to Taiwan's proposal last week to boost military spending by nearly $9 billion over the next half-decade. This will include acquiring new missiles to defend the island in the event of an attack from China.
Taiwan's defense ministry said in a statement last Thursday regarding ramping up military spending:
"The Chinese Communists have continued to invest heavily in national defense budgets, its military strength has grown rapidly, and it has frequently dispatched aircraft and ships to invade and harass our seas and airspace."
19 PLA aircraft (J-16*12, Y-8 ASW*2, H-6*2, Y-8 EW and J-11*2) entered #Taiwan’s southwest ADIZ in the morning of September 23, 2021. Please check our official website for more information: https://t.co/c5EJJFhzKL pic.twitter.com/81fIdFbWFI— 國防部 Ministry of National Defense, R.O.C. 🇹🇼 (@MoNDefense) September 23, 2021
The statement further cited "severe threats" from Beijing: "In the face of severe threats from the enemy, the nation’s military is actively engaged in military building and preparation work, and it is urgent to obtain mature and rapid mass production weapons and equipment in a short period of time," it said.
China has also been warning both Taiwan and the Biden administration not to continue Trump's policy of inking major arms deals with the autonomous island - but a warning which Biden has refused to heed, instead indicating the defense deals with go through and will continue without delay.