Taiwan warns off Chinese fighter jets amid rising security fears after Ukraine invasion
By William Yang
24 February 2022
Taiwan’s air force has scrambled to warn off nine Chinese military aircraft that entered its air defense zone (ADIZ) just hours after Russia invaded Ukraine, with Taipei fearful that the crisis could embolden Beijing to increase pressure on or even attack the island.
China, which claims self-governing Taiwan as its own territory, has ramped up a military intimidation campaign against the island in recent years, and regularly flies jets into its ADIZ.
The defense ministry said the latest mission involved eight Chinese J-16 fighters and one Y-8 reconnaissance aircraft, and that in response, Taiwanese fighters were sent up to warn the Chinese aircraft and air defense missiles were deployed to “monitor the activities”.
China’s incursions usually coincide with high-level foreign visits or important occasions in Taiwan, and Thursday’s incident followed Russia’s all-out invasion of Ukraine by land, air and sea.
Taipei is concerned that Beijing may take advantage of a distracted West to ramp up pressure on the island amid the crisis in Ukraine, Taiwanese officials have said.
The government last month set up a Ukraine working group under the National Security Council, and President Tsai Ing-wen said on Wednesday that Taiwan must increase its surveillance and alertness on military activities in the region – although she did not directly mention China.
While Taiwan has said the region’s situation is “fundamentally different” from Ukraine, Ms Tsai has expressed “empathy” for Kiev because of the military threat Beijing could pose to Taipei.
via Yahoo News