China sent dozens of warplanes into the sky near Taiwan

The Defense Ministry said that the aircraft of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force were a mix of fighter jets, early warning and control aircraft, electronic warfare aircraft, anti-submarine aircraft, electronic intelligence aircraft and aerial refueling aircraft.

This was the third highest number of Chinese jets entering Taiwan’s ADIZ since the beginning of the year and comes less than a month after China sent 30 warplanes on a similar mission.

In response, the Taiwanese military fired fighter jets to warn Chinese jets, issued radio warnings and deployed an air defense missile system to monitor movements, the Defense Ministry said.

Taiwan and mainland China have been governed separately since defeated Nationalists retreated to the island at the end of the Chinese Civil War more than 70 years ago.

But China’s ruling Communist Party of China (CCP) sees the self-governing island as part of its territory – even though it has never been controlled.

Beijing has not ruled out military force to occupy Taiwan and has maintained pressure on the democratic island with frequent warplane flights into the island’s ADIZ over the years.

An ADIZ is imposed unilaterally and is distinct from sovereign airspace, which is defined under international law as a distance of 12 nautical miles from a territory’s shoreline.

The US Federal Aviation Administration defines it as “a designated area of ​​airspace on land or water within which a country requires the immediate and positive identification, location, and air traffic control of aircraft in the interest of the nation’s national security.” “

Tension in the Taiwan Strait

The issue of Taiwan has been at the fore of US-China relations in recent months.

Tensions between Washington, which is committed to supporting the island’s self-defense, and Beijing over Taiwan made headlines earlier this month when their respective defense ministers met at the Shangri-La Dialogue defense summit in Singapore.

In a keynote speech in Singapore, Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe accused the United States of being a “bully” in the region and pledged that the PLA would “fight to the end” to prevent Taiwan’s independence.

After the Shangri-La conference, China’s foreign ministry emphasized previous statements that the Taiwan Strait “is not international waters.”

Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said, “The waters of the Taiwan Strait extend from the shores of both sides of the strait to the centerline of the strait, and are China’s internal waters, territorial seas, contiguous regions and exclusive economic zones, in that order.” ” In a briefing on June 13, referring to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and China’s Domestic Law.

Reiterating Beijing’s stance on Wednesday, an editorial in China’s state-run tabloid Global Times claimed that the entire Taiwan Strait, the 110-mile-wide (180-kilometre) watershed between Taiwan and mainland China, is not international waters, but rather the entire Taiwan Strait. Well under the jurisdiction of Beijing.

The actions of US and foreign warships that regularly pass through the strait are provocations that violate Chinese sovereignty and are not innocent passage, a recognized international right, the Global Times said.

The US Navy sees things differently, regularly sending warships through the strait, including on May 10, when the guided missile cruiser USS Port Royal made a transit.

Similarly for airspace, international law stipulates that a country’s territorial waters are 12 nautical miles from its coastline.