Taiwan scrambles jets after Chinese warplanes breach airspace

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Taiwan scrambles jets after Chinese warplanes breach airspace

Taiwan activated its air defense missile system Sunday after detecting 39 Chinese warplanes in its Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ). 

On Sunday, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense revealed it had spotted 34 fighter planes, four electronic warfare aircrafts and a bomber in the ADIZ. 

In response, Taiwan scrambled jets, issued radio warnings and engaged the missile system. 

The incursion is the largest since October, when China authorized nearly 150 flights over Taiwan’s air defense zone. 

At the time, the US State Department warned China against what it called “provocative military activity,” describing it as “destabilizing.” 

The show of force comes as some in the US fear China will invade Taiwan in the coming months. 

A Taiwanese fighter jet shadows a mainland Chinese bomber over the Taiwan Strait
Taiwan scrambled jets, issued radio warnings and engaged the missile system.
Military News Agency

On Friday, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) predicted military action would take place following next month’s Winter Olympics in Beijing. 

“I do think after the Olympics — China has gotten so provocative, so aggressive in the South China Sea, that you are going to see the CCP, the [Chinese] Communist Party invading Taiwan,” McCaul told reporters.

The Republican argued that President Biden’s poor messaging on the ongoing Ukraine crisis sent a signal of weakness to America’s adversaries, which McCaul believes they will look to exploit. 

Taiwanese pilots of F-5 fighter jets walk in a hangar ahead of the visit of Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (not pictured) at a military base in Taitung, Taiwan, 21 January 2022
Taiwan detected 39 Chinese warplanes in its Air Defense Identification Zone.
EPA/RITCHIE B. TONGO

“I would say [Jimmy] Carter’s the worst president in my life,” McCaul said. “But this guy really takes the cake, and I’ve never seen, in one year, our standing on the world stage diminish so rapidly and quickly to the detriment of our national security.”

Sunday’s incursion by China came one day after the US Navy performed a joint exercise with Japan’s maritime Self Defense Force. 

In a statement posted to social media, the Navy described the exercise as “training to preserve and protect a #FreeandOpenIndoPacific.”

Taiwanese Air Force pilot gestures after he boarded an F-16V fighter jet during a military drill inside the airbase during a military drill in Chiayi, Taiwan, 05 January 2022
The military drill simulates the response of Air Force personnel during an enemy attack amidst the rising military tension between China and Taiwan.
EPA/RITCHIE B. TONGO

On Friday, President Biden held a formal virtual meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, the bulk of which was devoted to discussion of the ongoing threat from China. 

Some have speculated that China’s show of force is in response to the growing US military presence in the region. 

Last week, the guided missile destroyer USS Benfold traveled through two disputed island chains in the South China Sea, angering Beijing. 

“We solemnly demand that the US side immediately stop such provocative actions, otherwise it will bear the serious consequences of unforeseen events,” read a statement from China’s Southern Theatre Command.

The Navy defended the destroyer’s movements, saying its mission was conducted “in accordance with international law” and “reflects our commitment to uphold freedom of navigation and lawful uses of the sea as a principle.”

“The United States is defending every nation’s right to fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows, as USS Benfold did this week,” a statement read. “Nothing PRC [People’s Republic of China] says otherwise will deter us.”

Taiwan Air Force pilots run toward F-16V fighter jets during a military drill inside the airbase during a military drill in Chiayi, Taiwan, 05 January 2022.
Taiwan Air Force pilots run toward F-16V fighter jets during a military drill inside the airbase in Chiayi, Taiwan, January 5, 2022.
EPA/RITCHIE B. TONGO

The State Department did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.

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