Taipei/Beijing: Taiwanese Air Forces issued a stern warning that ‘The Chinese plane that entered the Taiwanese airspace and threatened its security should return. Otherwise, they alone will be responsible for the consequences.’ On Tuesday, a staggering 28 planes of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) entered Taiwan’s airspace. It is China’s most significant air incursion into Taiwan’s territory so far. The United States and major countries worldwide criticised China and have openly backed Taiwan at the G7 and NATO summits. As a result, China became nervous and is believed to have made such a move.
The Taiwanese Air Force informed that the PLA began infiltrating the Taiwanese border around 5 a.m. on Tuesday. Over the next four hours, 28 Chinese planes entered Taiwan’s border, a Taiwanese Air Force official said. The intruding Chinese aircraft include Shaanxi Y-8 anti-submarine warfare aircraft, Shaanxi Y-8 electronic warfare aircraft, Xian H-6 bombers (4), Shaanxi KJ-500 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft, Shenyang J-16 fighter jets (14) and six Shenyang J-11 fighter jets. Taiwan‘s Defense Ministry issued a statement and provided the details.
It is the fourth time that Chinese planes have entered Taiwan’s border in June. Previously, the Chinese planes had infiltrated the Taiwanese border on June 3, 4 and 14. China has stepped up pressure on Taiwan by sending 28 planes in just four hours on the same day. Also, in March and April, reports revealed that China had infiltrated Taiwan’s airspace with the help of 20 or more aircraft. Therefore, the repeated incursions are part of China’s ‘grey zone’ warfare against Taiwan.
Only a few days ago, Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu warned Australia about it. In a statement issued by him at the time, Wu had drawn attention to the fact that Taiwan has been facing China’s ‘grey zone’ warfare for the past few years. China began using it in the decade following 2010 and has been using aircraft as well as maritime militias with hundreds of armed fishing boats. Harassing Taiwan’s armed forces and maintaining pressure on them appears to be their primary purpose.
A verbal dispute broke out between a Chinese pilot and a Taiwanese official on Tuesday during the intrusion of Chinese planes. The Chinese pilots told the Taiwanese Air Force that they were carrying out mundane drills and that they should read a book for a while, the media reported. On the other hand, Taiwanese authorities warned the Chinese pilots that they alone would be responsible for any miscalculations and consequences.
Some analysts have claimed that the infiltration of Chinese aircraft was part of China’s response to the stand taken against it at the G7 and NATO summits. At the meeting, the G7 member states had expressed their support for Taiwan, and the island nation had warmly welcomed it.