Mar 26, 2021 - World

China flies at least 20 war planes in Taiwan airspace

A formation of Chinese H-6K bombers flying over Beijing in October 2019.

A formation of H-6K bombers flying over Beijing in October 2019. Photo: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

At least 20 Chinese military aircraft entered Taiwan's air space on Friday, according to Taiwan's defense ministry.

Why it matters: It is the largest incursion by China's air force since Taiwan's defense ministry has announced almost daily Chinese military exercises into its air space, per Reuters.

  • A person familiar with Taiwan’s defense planning told Reuters that the Chinese military was simulating an operation against U.S. warships sailing through the Bashi Channel.
  • China has said the exercises are meant to show its determination to defend the island, which it considers part of Chinese territory, though Taiwan's status is one of the most sensitive political issues between Washington and Beijing.

The big picture: Friday's exercises involved four H-6K bombers, which have nuclear strike capabilities, 10 J-16 fighter jets and six other military planes.

  • Taiwan said it warned the planes by radio that they were violating its airspace and deployed air defense missile systems to "monitor the activity" of the flight after the aircraft did not change course.
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