China fighter jet enters Taiwan’s air defense identification zone

A Chengdu J-10 fighter jet was pictured at the 2010 Airshow China. (CNA file photo)

TAIPEI (CNA) — A Chengdu J-10 fighter jet from the Chinese military entered Taiwan’s southwest air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Tuesday before being chased off by Taiwanese patrol planes, according to the Ministry of National Defense (MND).

When the Chinese jet briefly entered the ADIZ on Tuesday morning, Taiwanese patrol aircraft responded with radio warnings and monitored the jet’s movements until it flew off, the MND’s Air Force Command Headquarters said in a press release.

The incident was the third of its kind by Chinese aircraft in the past eight days, following the intrusion of a Y-8 transport plane on June 12 and “several” Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets on June 9, according to the MND.

The ministry said, however, that there was no cause for alarm, as it was closely monitoring the airspace and waters around Taiwan.

Chieh Chung (揭仲), a research fellow at the National Policy Foundation, a think tank affiliated with the opposition Kuomintang (KMT), said the spate of recent incursions could be intended by Beijing as a sort of “stress test” of Taiwan’s defense capabilities.

While the MND has not revealed the exact location of the recent intrusions by Chinese aircraft, Chieh said he believed that they had occurred close to Taiwan’s Penghu Island and were intended to apply pressure and force a response without being viewed as a major political provocation.

Chien noted that from April 2012 to December 2014, China had engaged in similar actions in response to Japan’s sovereignty claims to the Diaoyutai Islands, which are also claimed by Taiwan and China.

During that period, the Japan Air Self-Defense Force responded to as many as 33 incursions per month, as compared to only 11 in total before the controversy arose, Chieh said.

Meanwhile, data released Tuesday by Peking University Institute of Ocean Research’s South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative showed two U.S. military KC-135 Stratotankers, a type of aerial refueling aircraft, operating near Taiwan — in the East China Sea to the north and in the Bashi Channel to the south.