A total of 39 Chinese warplanes entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Saturday, breaking a record set just a day before.
On October 1, China sent record 38 military aircraft into Taiwan’s defense zone in a move that coincided with Beijing’s marking of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
Taiwan issued a stern response to China, after scrambling its aircraft in response to an initial entrance of 22 fighters, two bombers and one anti-submarine aircraft into its ADIZ. Another 13 aircraft crossed into the island’s ADIZ later in the day in an unusual night incursion.
“China has been bellicose and damaging regional peace while engaging in many bullying acts,” Premier Su Tseng-chang said on Saturday.
“It’s evident that the world, the international community, rejects such behaviors by China more and more.”
However, just a day after the record 38-aircraft flex, China sent 39 military jets into Taiwan’s ADIZ on Saturday.
According to Taiwan’s defense ministry, Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force first sent 14 J-16s, four SU-30s, and two Y-8 maritime patrol aircraft. It later sent another 19 military aircraft, bringing the total to 39. The second incursion included 12 J-16s, six SU-30 and one KJ-500 airborne early warning and control aircraft.
Chinese military incursions into Taiwan’s ADIZ are not uncommon, but the scale of the operations in the last two days certainly is. It is unclear whether the operations are a response to a specific action on behalf of Taiwan or the US.
The flights did occur, however, after Pentagon awarded Boeing a $220 million contract to begin work on delivering the Harpoon missile coastal defense system to Taiwan.
It should also be noted that the events are taking place at a time when two US Navy aircraft carriers are in the South China Sea, with UK Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth en route the region.