Taiwan reports 37 Chinese military aircraft entered air defense zone

A Chinese Air Force J-10B fighter jet in flight.
Anna Zvereva, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Taiwan activated its air defense systems earlier today, Thursday, June 8, 2023, after reporting 37 Chinese military aircraft flying into the island nation’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).

The Chinese aircraft included fighter jets, bombers, and electronic warfare aircraft. Some of the Chinese aircraft then reportedly flew into the western Pacific.

This was the largest single incursion of Chinese aircraft into Taiwan’s ADIZ since October 2022. It comes at a time of heightened tensions between Taiwan and China.

China has been increasing its military activity around Taiwan in recent years, and it has warned that it will use force to prevent Taiwan from declaring independence.

Taiwanese Response

The island nation’s defense ministry said that it had scrambled fighter jets to intercept the Chinese aircraft and that it had deployed air defense missiles following the ADIZ incursion.

The ministry said that the Chinese aircraft had not entered Taiwan’s airspace and that there was no threat to the island.

Taiwanese president, Tsai Ing-wen, said that the government was “keeping a close eye” on the situation and that it was “ready to respond to any possible provocation.” She also said that Taiwan would “continue to strengthen its self-defense capabilities.”

Above: Taiwanese Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ)

U.S. Response

The United States condemned the Chinese incursion, saying that it was “destabilizing” and “provocative.” The U.S. State Department said that it would continue to support Taiwanese self-defense capabilities.

A U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the Chinese incursion was “a clear attempt to test Taiwan’s defenses and to intimidate the island’s leadership.”

The official said that the United States was “deeply concerned” about the situation and that it was “ready to work with Taiwan to ensure its security.”

China’s Response

The Chinese government has not commented on the incursion. However, it has previously said that its military activities around Taiwan are necessary to protect its sovereignty.

In a statement, the Chinese Ministry of National Defense said that the Chinese aircraft were conducting “routine exercises” in the region. The ministry said that the exercises were “not targeted at any specific country or force.”


The latest incursion by Chinese aircraft into Taiwan’s ADIZ comes as regional tensions continue to mount.

The Chinese government has long claimed that Taiwan is a part of its territory. However, the island nation has been self-governing for over 70 years and has never been ruled by China.

In recent years, China has been increasing its military activity in the region. It has sent warships and fighter jets into the Taiwan Strait, and it has conducted military exercises near the island.

Taiwan has responded to the Chinese threat by strengthening its own military. It has purchased new weapons from the United States, and it has been developing its own indigenous defense industry.

The United States has been a strong supporter of Taiwan. It has pledged to help the country defend itself, and it has provided military support in the form of billions of dollars worth of weapons.

The US presence in the region is a further point of aggravation for China, and notable incidents this year included the intercept of a US reconnaissance aircraft by a Chinese fighter aircraft in January 2023.

A Chinese fighter aircraft flies dangerously close to a US Air Force Recon aircraft.
Photo Credit: US Air Force

In that incident (shown above), a United States Air Force (USAF) Boeing RC135 reconnaissance aircraft over the South China Sea was forced to take evasive action after a Chinese J-11 fighter aircraft flew dangerously close to it during an interception.

Tensions between the two nations were further raised last month, when the US claimed an intercept carried out by another intercepting Chinese fighter jet was an ‘ unnecessarily aggressive manoeuver.’

In the recent incident, the Chinese jet flew across the nose of the US reconnaissance aircraft, forcing it to fly through the zone of wake turbulence behind the fighter.

A Chinese fighter jet passes across the nose of a USAF surveillance aircraft.
Photo taken from USAF video footage of May 31 incident.

The latest incursion by 37 Chinese aircraft into the Taiwanese ADIZ is a reminder of the complex and dangerous situation which continues to unfold in the region.

By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 5 Min Read
5 Min Read
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