Taipei: A Chinese warplane intruded into Taiwan’s Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) on Sunday, the Taiwanese Defence Ministry said.
This was the first incursion since March 17. Over the past few months, Taiwan has reported incursion by Chinese warplanes into ADIZ almost daily.
Air defence identification zones are early warning systems that help countries to detect incursions into their airspace.
Any aircraft entering such an area is supposed to report its route and purpose to the “host” nation, though the zones are classified as international airspace and pilots are not legally bound to make such a notification.
According to Taiwan News, the Air Force scrambled jets, issued radio warnings to the Chinese plane and deployed its air defence missile systems to monitor the aircraft’s activity.
The plane, a Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft, emerged from the area on the border between the Chinese provinces of Fujian and Guangdong Saturday morning before flying across the Taiwan Strait in a southeasterly direction.
The new incursions come amidst escalated tensions in the region as Beijing ramped up pressure on Taipei.
China has threatened that “Taiwan’s independence” means war.
Wu Qian, spokesperson of China’s Ministry of National Defence, on January 28 “warned” the people wanting “Taiwan independence” and said that “those who play with fire will set themselves on fire, and seeking ‘Taiwan independence’ means nothing but war”.
According to an article by The Global Times, a Chinese state media, Taiwan’s “mainland affairs council” has warned that any of the mainland’s words and deeds that deliberately provoke Taiwan’s bottom line may cause far-reaching effects that the mainland cannot bear.
Beijing claims full sovereignty over Taiwan, a democracy of almost 24 million people located off the southeastern coast of mainland China, despite the fact that the two sides have been governed separately for more than seven decades.
Taipei, on the other hand, has countered the Chinese aggression by increasing strategic ties with democracies including the US, which has been repeatedly opposed by Beijing.