Taiwan detected 37 sorties by Chinese military aircraft into its air defense identification zone Thursday, the island’s Defense Ministry said.
The ministry said that it detected Chinese J-11 and J-16 fighters and H-6 bombers, as well as transport and early warning aircraft, flying into the southwestern part of Taiwan’s ADIZ starting at 5 a.m.
Some of the planes continued flying into the western Pacific and “carried out aerial surveillance and long-distance navigation training,” the ministry said in a statement.
Taiwan scrambled aircraft and ships and activated shore-mounted missile systems to monitor the large-scale incursion, Beijing’s latest in a steady stream of provocations that Taipei calls “gray zone” warfare meant to strain the island’s defense capabilities and wear down its morale.
China considers the democratic island of 23 million a wayward province and has vowed to seize control of it by force if necessary. Taiwan has never been a part of the mainland People’s Republic of China, which was founded in 1949, and rejects Beijing’s sovereignty claims.