Another group of warplanes from the People’s Liberation Army transcended Taiwan’s air defense zone on Monday morning, in effect turning what used to be occasional circumnavigation of the island into a new normal.
This was the 19th such flyover of the Taiwan Strait by the Chinese military this year, following a Sunday intrusion by three Y-8 electronic reconnaissance aircraft.
Taiwan Defense Minister Feng Shih-kuan once again was forced to leave a meeting with the Legislative Yuen and rush to the underground Heng Shan Military Command Center beneath the Defense Ministry complex after hearing that Chinese bombers and fighters had again traversed through the air defense zone.
Some netizens in mainland China have teased that Feng will have to make the command his home, since such patrols in the vicinity of Taiwan now are carried out on almost a daily basis.
The ministry confirmed that a group of PLA planes flew past the Bashi Channel, skimming over Taiwan’s east coast and traveling as far as the Miyako Strait between the Japanese islands of Miyako and Okinawa, before heading back via roughly the same course.
The ministry did not specify the types of aircraft used, but in previous such “patrols” H-6K bombers and Y-8 logistic aircraft have come in close vicinity to the island’s air border.
A separate source said other PLA planes had also entered the airspace above international waters in the Sea of Japan, having crossed the Tsushima Strait between Japan’s Kyushu island and the Korean Peninsula.
A Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker has suggested that the defense chief should not rush to the command center whenever Chinese warplanes fly over. Rather, the Taiwanese military should now focus on establishing a standardized response code and contingency plan.