In yet another glaring example of Chinese aggression, 39 aircraft belonging to its airforce breached the air defence zone of Taiwan on Sunday (January 23), reported Reuters. The incident has been described as the largest Chinese incursion in Taiwanese territory since October 2021.
Reuters reported that the latest incursion involved 34 fighter jets, along with 1 bomber and 4 electronic warfare aircraft and was carried out in the northeastern zone of Pratas Islands. As per the Taiwanese Defence Ministry, missile systems were used to track the movement of the Chinese jets and combat aircraft were dispatched to fend off the enemy’s aircraft.
Although China has not yet commented on the development, the Communist regime had earlier justified its misadventures in the island nation as ‘drills meant to protect its sovereignty.’ Taiwan has repeatedly questioned air missions, conducted by China, in its Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) near Pratas Islands.
The democratically ruled island nation has pointed out how China carried out military activities in the ‘grey zone’ to test the response of Taiwan and wear out its forces. The latest Chinese incursion comes at a time when the United States and Japan have been conducting naval exercises in the Philippine Sea.
Earlier in October last year, Taiwan informed that 148 Chinese aircraft entered the country’s air defence zone in the Southern and southwestern sectors. The island nation had emphasised that about its resolve for peace but cautioned that it would defend in case of attacks.
‘PRC has infiltrated almost all military ranks in Taiwan’
In December 2021, a retired Taiwanese Lt Commander Lu Li-shih had stated that China had infiltrated almost all ranks and levels in the Taiwanese military, including top-level generals. The officer stated that Chinese intelligence first approached the targeted officers with lavish gifts and meals, and offered handsome payment for information. After the first few exchanges, they started blackmailing the corrupt officers for more information, with smaller payments.
In July last year, even Taiwan’s former deputy defence minister was interrogated in a national security probe. Xie Xezhang, who had introduced himself as a Hong Kong-based businessman to Taiwanese military officers, actually reported to an office that functions directly under the PRC’s intelligence apparatus and served as a front for China’s Central Military Commission.