China flies at least 20 warplanes in Taiwan’s airspace

At least 20 Chinese military planes entered Taiwan airspace on Friday, according to the Taiwanese Ministry of Defense.

Why it matters: According to Reuters, it is the largest incursion by the Chinese air force since the Taiwan Ministry of Defense announced almost daily Chinese military exercises in the airspace.

  • A person familiar with Taiwan’s defense planning told Reuters that the Chinese military was simulating an operation against US warships passing through the Bashi Canal.
  • China has said the exercises are to demonstrate its determination to defend the island, which it considers part of Chinese territory, even though Taiwan’s status is one of the most sensitive political issues between Washington and Beijing.

The big picture: Friday’s exercises involved four H-6K bombers with nuclear attack capabilities, 10 J-16 fighter jets and six other military aircraft.

  • Taiwan said it had radio-warned the planes that they were violating the airspace and deployed air defense missile systems to track “the activity” of the flight after the plane failed to change course.