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According to Taiwan's Ministry of Defense, 18 Chinese air force aircraft have entered the Taiwanese air defense zone.
Taiwanese fighter jets were deployed, and anti-aircraft missile systems were activated to monitor the activities of China's air fleet. However, Chinese aircraft have not flown in Taiwan's airspace but in its Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), a broader area that Taiwan monitors and patrols and which acts to give it more time to respond to any threat.
Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense said Friday a fleet of 18 People's Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft, including two H-6 nuclear-capable aircraft, flew into the island's air defense zone.
The nuclear-capable bombers were a Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft, a KJ-500 airborne warning and reconnaissance aircraft, and twelve J-11 and J-16 fighters.
So far, China's military has been silent on the confrontation with the army of Taiwan, which under the one-China principle is considered by Beijing to be an integral part of Chinese territory.
18 Chinese military aircraft entered Taiwan's air defense zone. The Taiwanese Defense Ministry reports that air patrol forces have been sent to the sky, and missile systems have been put on alert. pic.twitter.com/EmLs4C7ocp
Taiwan has been self-governing since 1949 after the remnants of the Nationalist government left the mainland in the wake of its defeat in the civil war. Still, it never officially declared its independence from China.
Despite having no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, it maintains close military cooperation with the island, which China has condemned on several occasions warning Washington to stay away from Taiwan. Beijing considers any foreign activity around Taiwanese territory a violation of the one-China principle and interference in its internal affairs.
Taiwan's 750 million dollar order for 40 U.S.-made howitzers was recently moved off Washington's production lines as the administration has focused on delivering massive arms shipments to Kiev amid the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The estimated delivery date for that order has been pushed back at least three years, from 2023 to 2026.
The island has said it is closely following the conflict in Ukraine to learn from it and draw on Kiev's experience should China decide to take over Taipei. In this regard, Beijing has said on countless opportunities that peaceful reunification is its preference, although it has not discarded using force.