Brief China Update: National Day Brings Increased Chinese Air Activity Around Taiwan

On Friday, as the People’s Republic of China celebrated its National Day holiday, aircraft from the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) were conducting a large-scale show of force in the skies southwest of Taiwan. Over a two-day period, China sent 77 combat aircraft into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ). This was the largest number of aircraft China had sent into the ADIZ in over a year, with 39 sorties on Friday, and 38 Saturday. Taiwan scrambled fighters and activated air defense sites and issued verbal warnings to the Chinese aircraft. Taiwanese airspace was not violated at all, and the behavior of the intruding aircraft was not considered to be overly aggressive.

However, the near incursions of so many Chinese warplanes over a short period of time is being regarded domestically in Taiwan as a threat. This type of intimidation is nothing new in the region. China has running air and sea exercises near Taiwan and its ADIZ for months. Internationally, the acts are seen as Chinese intimidation tactics as well as a warning to Taiwan’s supporters about intervening in any future China-Taiwan conflict.

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