China sends 27 military aircraft, 7 naval vessels around Taiwan

May 16, 2023 at 11:54 AM

Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) tracked 27 Chinese military aircraft and seven naval vessels around the country between 6 a.m. on Tuesday (May 2) and 6 a.m. on Wednesday (May 3), including a reconnaissance drone which was the second Chinese military plane to encircle Taiwan.

At 9 a.m. on Wednesday, the MND said that 27 People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) military aircraft and seven People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) vessels had been tracked around Taiwan. Of the detected aircraft, 13 crossed the median line or entered the southwest, southeast, and northeast sections of Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ).

The aircraft tracked in the ADIZ included three Suhkoi Su-30 fighter jets, four Chengdu J-10 fighter jets, two Shenyang J-16 fighter jets, one Harbin BZK-005 Reconnaissance (RECCE) drone, one Shaanxi Y-8 reconnaissance plane, one Shaanxi Y-8 electronic warfare (EW) plane, and one Shaanxi Y-8 anti-submarine warfare (ASW) plane. The fighter jets circled over the median line, while the three Y-8 aircraft penetrated the southwest corner of the ADIZ.

The BZK-005 entered the southwest corner of the ADIZ from the southwest edge of the median line. It then flew to the southeast, east, north, and northwest sections of the ADIZ before exiting over the northeast end of the median line.

This marks the second time that the MND has publicly acknowledged that a Chinese military aircraft had encircled Taiwan in this way. This flight came closer to northeastern Taiwan than the first instance reported on April 28.

The MND said it monitored the situation and responded by scrambling combat patrol aircraft, dispatching naval vessels, and deploying land-based air defense missile systems.

According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, gray zone tactics are “an effort or series of efforts beyond steady-state deterrence and assurance that attempts to achieve one’s security objectives without resort to direct and sizable use of force.” (Taiwan News)