The Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (ROC) reported on May 6 that China sent 18 aircraft to the island’s air defense zone.
It is considered the second-largest incursion by far this year. The warplanes included six J-11 fighter jets, six J-16 fighter jets, two Xi’an H-6 bombers, two KJ-500 airborne early warning and control planes, one Shaanxi Y-8 anti-submarine warfare aircraft, and one Shaanxi Y-8 electronic warfare aircraft.
According to Reuters, the bombers, escorted by a Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft went south of Taiwan across the Bashi Channel, which divides the island from the Philippines.
The other aircraft traveled over territory to the northeast of Taiwan’s Pratas Islands in the South China Sea’s upper end.
The Ministry said Taiwan’s Air Force dispatched planes, issued radio warnings, and activated air defense missile systems in response.
Despite entering the island’s air defense zone, the Chinese aircrafts kept themselves from Taiwan’s air space.
The actions coincided with the time a delegation from the Youth Division of Japan visited Taiwan between May 3 and May 6.
Previous incursions have been portrayed as efforts to safeguard Chinese sovereignty and prevent Taiwan’s “collusion” with foreign troops, commonly perceived as a veiled allusion to U.S. support for Taipei.
One such example occurred last month when the U.S. delegation spared a trip to Taiwan. Beijing openly conducted military drills around the island to send warnings for what it saw as a deliberate provocation.
Taipei has been on high alert as it suspects that China may use Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a pretext to launch a military strike on the island. There have been no indications that Beijing is planning an assault yet.