The Number of Chinese Aircraft Entering Taiwan's Air Defense Zone Is Increasing at an Alarming Rate

What's brewing in Taiwan airspace?

From only 10 or so Chinese military aircraft every other day in February, now over 50 Chinese warplanes were spotted in Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in just one day in October. Based on data collected by Statista via the Republic of China’s Ministry of National Defense, Chinese military aircraft have been steadily increasing their presence across the line that separates Taiwan from Mainland China. 

Roughly 56 Chinese warplanes flew into Taiwan ADIZ, the island nation’s defense buffer zone, on October 4. This included 38 J-16 fighter jets, 12 H-6K bombers, and several anti-submarine aircraft and warning and control aircraft. 

This is the largest number of Chinese warplanes flying near Taiwan airspace since the ROC started reporting air incursions in 2020. Based on the graph below, these People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) aircraft have been steadily increasing in number over the last 10 months, peaking in October. From Friday, October 1 (also China’s National Day) to Monday, October 4, Taiwan recorded 150 Chinese aircraft flying into its air defense zone. 

Infographic: Taiwan's Airspace Sees Increase In Chinese Military Incursions | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista


Taiwanese defense minister Chiu Kuo-cheng told the Associated Press that the situation “is the most severe in the 40 years since I’ve enlisted.” Meanwhile, president Tsai Ing-wen affirmed that Taiwan is not looking for war, but will protect itself if necessary. 

It’s no secret that China does not recognize Taiwan’s sovereignty, even outright refusing to acknowledge Taiwan’s name and instead calling it the province of Chinese Taipei. The events happening in the air are raising concerns of a military clash, but most experts agree war is not on the horizon—for now. 

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According to experts, the situation is but a display of power for China, which isn’t appreciative of the U.S. and Taiwan’s budding relationship and the presence of Western nations in Asian waters. About the same time Chinese aircraft were cruising in the ADIZ, six navies (U.S., Britain, Japan, Netherlands, Canada, and New Zealand) carried out joint maneuvers near Okinawa island in support of a “free and open Indo-Pacific.” 

“We are seeing a slow emergence of some sort of coalition of democracies in the region that are trying to come together to build some sort of mechanism to respond to Chinese behavior in the region,” said J. Michael Cole from the Global Taiwan Institute in Washington, D.C.

Based on China’s actions near Taiwan airspace, the Mainland is not amused.

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