21 Chinese warplanes, 5 naval ships tracked around Taiwan: Report
Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense has said that it tracked 21 warplanes and five naval ships of the Chinese military around the country on Friday. Of these, 17 were People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), from which eight jets crossed over to the Taiwan Strait meridian line. Among these were four Xi'an JH-7 fighter-bombers, two Sukhoi Su-30 fighters and two Shenyang J-11 jets.
Why does this story matter?
- Tensions had escalated between China and Taiwan following United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Taiwan visit.
- Pelosi's trip was preceded by stern warnings from China that it will take resolute and aggressive measures for upholding its national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
- Even before Pelosi's arrival, the island's military was on high alert, apparently to prepare for a war with China.
'25 bombers flying east of meridian line'
As per Taiwan News, the previous day the Taiwan's military had tracked 51 Chinese warplanes over the Strait and a guided missile destroyer where Taiwan had been testing missiles. It also tracked six naval ships along with the aircrafts infringing Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ). Among these, 25 bombers were flying east of the meridian line.
Monitoring Chinese activity: Taiwan military
The ministry said Combat Air Patrols (CAP), navy ships and air defense missile systems were monitoring Chinese activity. Earlier, the ministry had deployed air defense missile systems to monitor the intrusions, scrambled combat patrol aircraft and issued radio warnings. On Thursday, Taiwan's military showcased its surface-to-air anti-aircraft defense system, 35 mm double-barreled anti-aircraft guns and its Air Defense System to the media.
Adding fuel to the fire
On Pelosi's heels, another US Congressional delegation had arrived in Taiwan unannounced on Monday. The five-member delegation led by Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts had arrived there for two days. Taiwan's foreign ministry termed the visit as another sign of friendship between Washington and Taipei which was "not afraid of China's threats and intimidation". The delegates held a meeting with Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen.