Nuclear-capable bombers amongst largest ever Chinese incursion into Taiwan's air defence zone

As Beijing cynically accused the west of exaggerating the threat it poses to global peace and security, 28 Chinese military aircraft flew into Taiwan's air defence zone on Tuesday, said its defence ministry, the largest reported incursion so far.

Fighters and nuclear-capable bombers were among those in the so-called air defence identification zone (ADIZ), the BBC reported.

The incident comes after NATO leaders on Monday warned of the military challenge posed by China.

China’s growing influence and international policies can present challenges that we need to address together as an Alliance. We will engage China with a view to defending the security interests of the Alliance. We are increasingly confronted by cyber, hybrid, and other asymmetric threats, including disinformation campaigns, and by the malicious use of ever-more sophisticated emerging and disruptive technologies. Rapid advances in the space domain are affecting our security. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the erosion of the arms control architecture also undermine our collective security. Climate change is a threat multiplier that impacts Alliance security. The greatest responsibility of the Alliance is to protect and defend our territories and our populations against attack, and we will address all threats and challenges which affect Euro-Atlantic security.

Statement by Heads of State and Government, North Atlantic Council, Brussels June 14th 2021

While democratic Taiwan sees itself as a sovereign state, Beijing views the island as a breakaway province.

According to Taipei, the Chinese mission included 14 J-16, six J-11 fighters, four nuclear capable H-6 bombers as well as anti-submarine, electronic warfare and early warning aircraft.

An air defence identification zone is an area outside of a country's territory and national airspace but where foreign aircraft are still identified, monitored, and controlled in the interest of national security. It is self-declared and technically remains international airspace.

The Chinese aircraft flew close to the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands, as well as around the southern part of Taiwan itself.

China has over recent months regularly carried out flights over the waters between the southern part of Taiwan and the Pratas Islands.

On January 24th, a similar mission saw 15 aircraft entering Taiwan's air defence zone while on April 12th, Taiwan reported 25 jets.

Image:, CC BY 4.0,

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