Taiwanese flags at the Ministry of National Defense in Taipei, December 26, 2022.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry has urged Beijing to stop its “persistent military harassment” after it spotted more than 100 Chinese fighter jets near the island in a 24-hour span between Sunday and Monday.
The number of fighter jets registered posed “serious challenges to the Taiwan Strait and regional security,” the ministry said in a statement.
According to a flight map provided by the ministry, 40 of the 103 Chinese fighter jets crossed the median line in the Taiwan Strait and entered Taiwan’s self-proclaimed air defense identification zone (ADIZ).
Those 40 sorties were carried out by 10 Su-30 fighter jets, 12 J-10 fighter jets, four J-11 fighter jets, 10 J-16 fighter jets, two Y-20 aerial refueling aircraft and two KJ-500 early warning aircraft. and control airplanes.
An ADIZ is unilaterally imposed and is distinct from sovereign airspace, which under international law is defined as an extension of 12 nautical miles from the coast of a territory. No Chinese fighter jets were seen entering Taiwan’s sovereign airspace.
China’s ruling Communist Party considers Taiwan – a democratically governed island of 24 million people – as part of its territory, despite never having controlled it.
The Communist Party has long vowed that the island must be “unified” with mainland China, by force if necessary, while Taiwanese authorities strongly reject China’s territorial claims to it.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said it is “training all the time” to raise its combat capabilities, adding that peace in the Taiwan Strait is key to maintaining the stability and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region.
“The persistent military harassment of the communist army can easily result in a sharp rise in tensions and worsen regional security. “We call on the authorities in Beijing to take responsibility and immediately stop this type of unilateral and destructive action,” the ministry added.
The highest record of Chinese fighter jets entering Taiwan’s ADIZ in 24 hours was recorded in October 2021, when 56 aircraft carried out the raid in one day.