China enters Taiwan air defense zone a day after island’s military budget boost
During a military drill on July 16, 2020, AH-64 Apache fired at simulated targets during the 36th Han Kuang drills on the west of seashore in Taichung city, testing the ability of the force to repel invasion in the face of Chinas rising threat.
SOPA Images and LightRocket | SOPA Images, LightRocket | Getty Images
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 China.
For more than a year, Chinese-claimed Taiwan have complained about repeated Chinese air attacks on the island. Often in the southwest part of the air defense zone near Taiwan’s Pratas Islands, the Chinese air force has been making frequent visits to Taiwan.
According to the Taiwan ministry, 6 J-16 fighters and 2 J-11 fighters were involved in this latest Chinese operation. They also included one anti-submarine aircraft and one reconnaissance plane.
The ministry stated that Taiwan deployed combat aircraft to alert the Chinese planes, and missile systems were used to track them.
According to a ministry map, the Chinese fighters flew near the Pratas while reconnaissance and anti-submarine aircraft flew into Bashi Channel, which separates Taiwan from Philippines.
In drills and patrols designed to increase the combined combat capabilities of China’s military, warships, aircraft, and bombers were sent out on Friday, according to a statement issued by China’s Eastern Theater Command.
The incident came a day after Taiwan proposed boosting military spending by $8.7 billion over the next five years, including on new missiles, warning of an urgent need to upgrade weapons in the face of a “severe threat” from China.
On Friday, a U.S. Navy destroyer transited through international waters in Taiwan Strait. This was described by the U.S. Navy as “routine”.
In a separate statement, the Eastern Theater Command which oversees Chinese military operations in east China stated Saturday that USS Barry had been continuously monitored throughout its course.
Taiwan Premier Su Tseng Chang stated that the government must take China’s threat seriously.
According to him, “The Chinese Communists plan against us continually.”
Taiwan’s defense spending is based upon national sovereignty and national security. It is not acceptable to relax. “We must be prepared so there is no war,” he said.
China’s government, for its part, criticized Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu on Friday for comments this week in which he said Taiwan was a “sea fortress” blocking China’s expansion into the Pacific.
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office released a statement saying that Wu’s aim was “to deceive public opinions, to rope-in and collide with anti-China Foreign Forces.”