Taiwan Anger Over Chinese Air Strikes

Taiwan sharply criticized China on Saturday (2/10) after Beijing celebrated the founding of the People’s Republic of China with the biggest-ever attack by China’s air force on the island’s air defense zone.

Taiwan, a democratically governed island that is claimed as Chinese territory, has complained about Chinese air force missions over the past year frequently conducting activity in the southwest part of its air defense zone close to the Taiwanese-controlled Pratas Islands.

Taiwanese soldiers rushed to fight 38 Chinese aircraft in two waves on Friday, Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense said. He said Taiwan sent warplanes to repel the Chinese planes, while missile systems were deployed to monitor them.

“China has recklessly engaged in military aggression, undermining regional peace,” Taiwan Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang told reporters on Saturday morning.

Taiwan’s ministry said China’s first wave of airstrikes consisted of 18 J-16s and four Su-30 fighter jets plus two nuclear-capable H-6 bombers and an anti-submarine aircraft, while the second had 10 J-16s, 2 H- 6 and early warning aircraft.

The first batch of Chinese planes all flew in areas close to the Pratas Islands, with the two bombers flying closest to the atoll, according to a map released by the ministry.

The second group flew into the Bashi Strait which separates Taiwan from the Philippines, the main waterway linking the Pacific with the disputed South China Sea.

On Saturday (2/10), the ministry reported further strikes, this time involving 20 aircraft, all combat aircraft apart from two anti-submarine aircraft. They also fly around Pratas. [ah]

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