China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) ordered 13 aircraft into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Monday, forcing Taiwan’s air force to scramble fighter jets to “drive away” the incursion, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said in a statement.
The ministry said seven Chinese PLAAF aircraft, including a “J-10 and five J-16 fighters as well as one Y-8 electronic warfare aircraft… flew over an area to the northeast of the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands at the top end of the South China Sea” on March 14.
Taiwan’s air force responded to the act by dispatching a number of its air patrol forces to “monitor the activities” of the Chinese PLAAF contingent. Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense confirmed its air force issued “radio warnings” to the Chinese aircraft in an attempt to “drive [them] away” from Taiwan’s ADIZ. The Taiwanese air force additionally deployed “air defense missile systems” as a precaution.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration defines an ADIZ as “an area of airspace over land or water in which the ready identification, location, and control of all aircraft… is required in the interest of national security.”
China’s PLAAF regularly orders air sorties to penetrate Taiwan’s ADIZ in an effort to intimidate Taiwan militarily. Beijing considers Taiwan — an independent island nation located off China’s southeastern coast — to be a province of China and has repeatedly vowed to “reunify” the island with China.
The number of Chinese aircraft involved in the PLAAF’s March 14 intrusion into Taiwan’s ADIZ “was well off the last large-scale incursion, 39 Chinese aircraft on Jan. 23, and since then, such fly-bys have been sporadic with far fewer aircraft,” Reuters observed.
China’s military ordered a Shaanxi Y-8 electronic intelligence plane to fly through Taiwan’s ADIZ on March 10.
“One People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Shaanxi Y-8 electronic intelligence plane flew into the southwest corner of Taiwan’s ADIZ,” Taiwan News reported on March 11, noting the incident marked the sixth such intrusion into Taiwan’s ADIZ that month.
“So far this month, 17 Chinese military aircraft have been tracked in Taiwan’s identification zone, including nine fighter jets, six spotter planes, and two helicopters,” the online newspaper observed at the time.
Beijing ordered a record-high number of air incursions into Taiwan’s ADIZ last year.
“Chinese planes were tracked in Taiwan’s identification zone 22 times in April, 18 times in March, 17 times in February, and 27 times in January,” Taiwan News recalled on May 13, 2021. The publication noted the actions while reporting on the Chinese PLAAF’s seventh penetration of Taiwan’s ADIZ within that month alone.
The Chinese military ordered an additional air sortie into Taiwan’s ADIZ less than 30 days later, on September 5, 2021. That action marked “the third consecutive day that the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) had dispatched two or more aircraft into the zone, with four planes deployed on both Friday and Saturday (Sept. 3-4)” Taiwan News reported at the time.