HONG KONG, December 13. /TASS/. Taiwan’s Defense Ministry detected 21 aircraft from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), including 18 bombers, in the island’s air defense identification zone in the past day, the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
"Twenty-nine PLA aircraft and three PLAN [People's Liberation Army Navy] vessels around Taiwan were detected by 6:00 am today," the statement reads.
The Taiwanese Defense Ministry stated that the Chinese warplanes had entered Taiwan’s southwestern air defense identification zone. According to Taipei, the activity involved eighteen H-6 strategic bombers, a J-11 fighter jet and two Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft.
The Taiwanese military used ships to monitor the situation, scrambled an air patrol and activated its air defense systems.
The concept of an air defense zone where civilian aircraft are identified is not enshrined in international law. The extension of these zones is declared by particular countries or regions and is not necessarily limited to their boundaries. Taiwan’s defense identification zone, declared unilaterally, covers an area of 492 square kilometers and considerably exceeds the island’s airspace. It also spans the waters around it, the Taiwan Strait and part of the airspace over the Fujian, Jiangxi and Zhejiang provinces in mainland China.
Tensions escalated in the region following US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei on August 2-3, which sparked a harsh reaction from the Chinese authorities. Taiwan has been governed by its local administration since 1949 but Beijing views the island as an integral part of China and urges other countries to comply with the One-China policy.