Jan 24, 2022 - World

Taiwan's military scrambles jets after detecting 39 Chinese warplanes

Two J-20 stealth fighter jets perform in the sky during the 13th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition on September 29, 2021 in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province of China
J-20 stealth fighter jets in Zhuhai in the Guangdong Province of China last year. Photo: Chen Jimin/China News Service via Getty Images

Taiwan's defense force said 39 Chinese warplanes flew into its Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on Sunday.

Why it matters: The largest Chinese air force incursion into the zone since October came a day after the U.S. and Japanese navies conducted a joint exercise in the Philippine Sea.

  • While China's government did not immediately comment on the latest deployment of aircraft near Taiwan, the Chinese military sent a record 145 fighter planes to the ADIZ last October after the U.S. conducted a joint naval exercise near Okinawa, Japan.

Details: Taiwan's defense force said in a statement China's military sent 34 fighters, four electronic warfare aircraft and a bomber to the ADIZ on Sunday.

  • The self-governing island's military scrambled its own jets, issued radio warnings and activated air defense missile systems in response, per the statement.

What they're saying: A State and Defense departments expressed concern in an emailed joint statement on Monday about the Chinese government's "provocative military activity near Taiwan" and stressed the U.S. commitment to Taiwan.

  • They called the Chinese military activity "destabilizing," adding it "risks miscalculation, and undermines regional peace and stability."
  • The U.S. Navy said in a statement Saturday that its warships exercise with Japan's military was about "conducting training to preserve and protect a free and open Indo-Pacific region."

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from the State and Defense departments.

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