Taiwan’s air force scrambled on Friday after eight Chinese fighter aircraft flew into the southwestern part of its air defence zone in another display of stepped-up military activity around the democratic island.
Beijing, which regards Taiwan as a Chinese territory, says it is responding to what it calls “collusion” between Taipei and Washington, Taiwan’s main international backer and weapons supplier.
The Taiwanese Defence Ministry said four Chinese J-16s and four JH-7s as well as an electronic warfare aircraft flew near the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands in the top part of the South China Sea.
The air force scrambled, with “radio warnings issued and air defence missile systems deployed to monitor the activity,” the ministry said.
Chinese aircraft fly in the southwestern corner of the zone on an almost daily basis, though the last such large-scale activity was on Jan. 24 when 12 Chinese fighters were involved.