HONG KONG/XIANGGANG/, August 1. /TASS/. Four fighter jets of the People’s Liberation Army of China entered Taiwan’s self-declared air defense identification zone, the island’s Defense Ministry reported on Monday.
As Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said, four Chinese J-16 fighters flew around the waters southwest of the island. In response, the Taiwanese military issued radio warnings and deployed air defense systems.
Warplanes of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army have been regularly entering Taiwan’s air defense identification zone lately, increasing the intensity of drills in the region. Observers link the current military maneuvers with a possible visit by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan as part of her Asian tour.
Pelosi’s visit may come as the first trip by a US official of this rank to the island in the past 25 years. Beijing has repeatedly warned Washington that the visit to the island, should it take place, will not be left without consequences and China will resort to tough measures.
The concept of an air defense zone for identifying aircraft is not defined under international law. The extension of these zones is declared by particular countries or regions and is not necessarily limited to their boundaries.
Taiwan declared its air defense identification zone unilaterally: its area covers 492 square kilometers and considerably exceeds the island’s airspace. It also spans the waters around it, the Taiwan Strait and also part of the airspace over the provinces of Fujian, Jiangxi and Zhejiang of mainland China.
Taiwan has been governed by its local administration since 1949 when the Kuomintang’s remaining forces headed by Chiang Kai-shek (1887-1975) were defeated in the Chinese Civil War and took refuge on the island. Taiwan has preserved the flag and several other symbols of the Republic of China that had existed before the Communists took over the mainland. According to China’s official position supported by most countries, including Russia, the Island of Taiwan is one of China’s provinces.