TAIPEI - A total of 10 Chinese military aircraft entered Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Monday, including bombers and fighter jets, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said in a report later that day.
The People's Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft involved in the mission were four J-16 multi-role fighters, four J-10 multi-role fighters and one Y-8 anti-submarine plane, as well as one KJ-500 airborne early warning and control plane, according to the MND.
The anti-submarine plane flew all the way into airspace southeast of Taiwan, while the others limited themselves to the airspace southwest of Taiwan, between Taiwan and the Taiwanese-controlled Dongsha Islands, an MND chart showed.
Taiwan's Air Force responded by scrambling planes to monitor the Chinese aircraft, issuing radio warnings and mobilizing air defense assets until the Chinese planes left the area, the MND said.
The airspace is considered by Taiwan as part of its ADIZ, which is declared by a country to allow it to identify, locate and control approaching foreign aircraft. However, such zones are not considered territorial airspace and are not recognized under international law.
The PLA sorties in Taiwan's ADIZ, especially in its southwest corner, have become an almost daily routine, but usually involve only one or two low-speed reconnaissance aircraft.
It was unclear why Beijing sent so many military aircraft to the area on Monday, but it happened two days after the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning and five escort vessels were spotted sailing past Japan's Okinawa and Miyako islands, heading toward the Pacific Ocean.
In the past, Chinese warplane intrusions of that magnitude have usually happened only when Beijing wanted to express opposition to certain developments involving Taiwan, especially those with sovereignty implications.
The Chinese government views Taiwan as part of its territory.
The last time Beijing deployed such a large number of military planes near Taiwan was on March 29, with 10 planes, one day after U.S. Ambassador to Palau John Hennesey-Niland visited Taiwan along with Palau President Surangel Whipps Jr.
On March 26, the PLA sent 20 military planes into Taiwan's ADIZ after Taiwan and the U.S. signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a Coast Guard Working Group.
On Feb. 19 and 20, Taiwan saw nine and 11 PLA planes, respectively, entering its ADIZ after two U.S. lawmakers reintroduced a bill in the Senate and the House of Representatives to deter Beijing from using force against Taiwan.